County Commission hears requests, discusses economic development

Published 5:40 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

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The Lowndes County Commission held its first meeting of the month on Oct. 10 where commissioners heard requests for healthcare and economic development changes within the community.

First to appear in front of the commissioners was Sheriff Chris West, who offered a proposal to improve healthcare for inmates at the Lowndes County Jail.

According to West there is a need for an increased healthcare professional’s presence within the jail, and he offered a solution to the commissioners.

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“We don’t have a physician that comes down here every week or every two weeks but we have a physician to come if someone gets sick,” West said. “All along we get terminally ill individuals and it’s imperative to provide adequate healthcare for them. The company we were partnered with fell short on serving us how we should be served, so we reached out to one of our local partners, our Health Care Services here in Lowndes County, and Dr. George Thomas was more than willing to help us out. Health Services agreed to provide us healthcare for Lowndes County inmates.”

As a requirement of the plan set out by West, the Lowndes County Commission would need to hire a staff nurse who would work with the inmates and report to Dr. Thomas to form a treatment plan. The motion was approved unanimously by the commissioners. 

Another topic of discussion during the meeting was a review of the South Central Alabama Development Commission reports, which was brought before commissioners by Deborah Stewart, chief executive officer and founder of Avalon Consulting Services.

Stewart discussed many opportunities for economic and community development which were brought to her attention during her review of the reports. She implored commissioners to implement new projects including the creation of a public works department.

“The County can actually create a public works department that will create jobs that are not exportable for county residents for the purpose of bulk trash management,” Stewart said. “In the outskirts of Lowndes County and in some of the more rural areas, people don’t know how to dispose of the trash. If there were a public works department they could manage that.”

Stewart also mentioned that there is funding available through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and other federal sources that could help fund the initiatives that commissioners are interested in starting.

Stewart agreed with commissioners to draft plans for new economic development opportunities, find funding, and then report back to the commissioners for them to review the plans. 

The Lowndes County Commission will hold their next meeting on Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m.