County to begin work to expand, renovate DHR building

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County will work with the Department of Human Resources to expand and renovate its building in Columbiana.

DHR leases the building from the county and asked to enter into an agreement to expand and renovate the building, and to sign a new long-term lease on the building.

The Shelby County Commission, at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 27, approved a resolution authorizing County Manager Alex Dudchock to execute an agreement with DHR related to preliminary design work.

DHR entered into a lease agreement with the county in 1992 to construct the building, and DHR moved into the building in 1994.

“The building does not have sufficient office space for the current number of employees,” DHR Commissioner Nancy T. Buckner wrote in a letter to Dudchock. “There is also a need to reconfigure and update some of the space in the common areas of the building.”

DHR asked the county to add 7,000-8,000 square feet of office space and renovate parts of the existing space.

The plans for the work would be developed by the county and DHR, with DHR having final approval of plans.

DHR proposed that Shelby County would pay for the renovations, and the lease payments would be in an amount sufficient to repay the county over a period of 15-20 years, including financing and interest expenses should bonds be issued.

The Shelby County Commission approved only preliminary work on the project, with the county issuing contracts for architectural, engineering, surveying, testing and other services necessary to produce construction documents and secure bids for the project.

The estimated cost of these services is between $280,000 and $300,000, according to the resolution, which sets a maximum of $325,000 to be spent.

The county would then request reimbursement from DHR for the expenses.

In other business, the commission:

-Heard from County Engineer Randy Cole that the Alabama Department of Transportation will soon open bids on a project intended to ease congestion at the intersection of U.S. 280 and Alabama 119. The project would create a new path for motorists exiting the development anchored by the Walmart store.

Instead of turning left onto U.S. 280 and then right onto Alabama 119, traffic will cross U.S. 280 onto Old Highway 280, which connects with 119 on the southern side of U.S. 280.

The estimated cost of the project is between $800,000 and $1 million.

-Learned that Zito Media is ending its television service to some Shelby County residents on Dec. 21, 2017.

About 40 accounts in an unincorporated area near Columbiana received service through Zito.

After numerous complaints about the service, Shelby County officials notified Zito of their intent to not renew a franchise agreement once it expired on Dec. 31, 2018.

“Through multiple emails and written correspondence we truly believe we have attempted to resolve our issues of complaints of cable channel outages, picture quality distortion, channels not working, etc., to include our Jan. 30, 2017, letter regarding suspension all in good faith,” Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock wrote to Zito Media President Michael Rigas.

Though the existing franchise agreement between the county and Zito lasted through 2018, Zito sent letters to customers notifying them of a termination of service on Dec. 21.