Commission says goodbye to Johnny Jones

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Monday’s county commission meeting started off with concerns expressed about the closing of the Selma and Orrville transfer stations and expressions of gratitude to Commission Chairman and Probate Judge Johnny Jones, as this was his last meeting as chairman.

“We do appreciate you being here and talking to us about it,” Judge Jones said of the transfer station comments.

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All commissioners reported that they have had numerous phone calls about the transfer stations.

“”I can assure you having talked to every commissioner and Judge Jones, we do not have a closed mind on this subject,” Commissioner Kim Ballard said. “Roy never meant we were going to close the stations, those stations will be there from now on, but we’ve got to get a handle on this escalating cost.”

“We spent last year $447,000 on the landfill,” Ballard said.

“The cost has escalated to the point where we can’t handle it,” Moore said.

Moore said he does not want to close the transfer stations and the consensus among the Commission was that public input is welcomed.

“Hopefully by the time we get trough with the meetings and hearings, meeting with the mayor down in Orrville, there will be a solution everybody can live with. That’s our goal.”

A date has not been set for the public meeting,

but according to Moore a date may be announced at the next commission meeting Jan. 22.

County Engineer George E. Jones Jr. reported that the county has been awarded a $500,000 Industrial Access Grant that is to be used for the access road of the coming industry, New Gas Concepts, which will be located off of River Road.

“We need to take that and run,” Jones said.

Going around the room, many expressed their well-wishes to Judge Jones. There were many jokes, a lot of laughs, and many tears shed.

“It’s just a pleasure to come to a meeting like this when you can come and get along,” Moore said. “I can’t tell him how much I appreciate him, how much I’m going to miss him.”

Commissioner Curtis Williams described

Judge Jones as level-headed, a family man and a gentleman.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve with you,” he said.

Williams said what he admired most about Judge Jones was that “he’s concerned about county government.”

Commissioner Connell Towns thanked Judge Jones for

taking him under his wing when he was new to the commission.

“I really appreciate you Judge, I really do. Thank you for all

of your wonderful work,” he said.

Commissioner Ballard, who will take office as the new Commission Chairman on Monday, Jan. 15, was very moved by the departure of his friend of 46 years.

“This is not going to be easy for me,” he said. “I won’t take his place. His shoes are too big to fill. I’m going to do my best.”

County Attorney John Kelly III said he’d been talking to some other lawyers and Judge Jones has been the only probate judge they’ve known.

“Most of us have been here a little longer than 30 years.

It has been an honor appearing before you and on behalf of the Dallas County Bar Association, we want you to know what a great job you’ve done as probate judge.”

“I’m humbled by your comments,” Judge Jones said. “I can leave knowing y’all will be in good hands. I appreciate your comments, I really do.”

In his closing remarks, Judge Jones told the crowd about a desperate man who’d called one of the commissioners in the middle of the night saying that he’d mistakenly thrown away a family heirloom while helping his wife clean up. The commissioner went to the landfill with the man and dug through the rubble and found the heirloom.

“I had to think,” said an emotional Judge Jones, “where else could you do this, but in Dallas County. Where else could you find a better place? It’s really been a great experience.”

Among the crowd were Judge Jones’ wife and two of his daughters who were there for support and to take lots of photos of such a mark in Selma’s history.

As a final bit of business, Commissioner Ballard presented Judge Jones with a resolution from the county commission that reads as follows: “Whereas Judge John W. Jones Jr. has served 30 years as Probate Judge of Dallas County, Alabama, and whereas he has served for many years as Chairman of Dallas County Commission … Now therefore be it resolved, the County Commission and citizens of Dallas County do hereby extend congratulations and best wishes to John W. Jones Jr. on his retirement. Be it further resolved that Jan. 8, 2007, be declared John W. Jones Jr. Day in Dallas County, Alabama.”

In other business:

Attorney John C. Calame of Gamble, Gamble &

Calame presented the commission with architectural road plans for Pine Barren Landing Subdivision.

Plans for construction have been underway for over a year. Calame’s request to the Commission was that the subdivision’s roadways be declared private.

Attorney Kelly prepared a resolution declaring the road private and will not be the County’s responsibility, which was approved by the Commission. The resolution also stated that the roads do not have to meet county regulations as construction was started before the county law was passed stating that county subdivision roads must meet County standards.

“There will a private access road from the county road leading into the subdivision and there will be subdivision roads that will be private and will be privately maintained. In the event these roads are ever asked to be turned over to the county for maintenance, at that time, the owners will have to bring those roads up to whatever minimum standards are at that time,” Calame said of the agreement that he and Kelly reached on behalf of the County.

Commissioner Ballard reported that the County’s Information Technology (IT) person resigned a couple of weeks ago and he and EMA Director Brett Howard proposed to contract the job out rather than hire a full time IT person.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Commissioner Moore said. The rest of the commissioners agreed.

“If you can’t find anybody, you can call me,” Judge Jones


Liquor license for Elms Bluff Bait Shop was approved.

Roy Moore as appointed to the Airport Authority.

Minter Lounge liquor license was approved.

Budget Amendments for December were approved.

A $200 sealed bid was accepted for an ATV formerly used at the softball complex.

Gas bids for gasoline were approved – $1.713 per gallon from Jones Oil and $1.778 per gallon from Parr.

Broken chairs in the Annex basement were declared surplus.

Milk bids for 1% milk for the Varner Camp was approved – $0.16 per unit by

Dairy Fresh and $0.19 per unit by Barber.