Commission prioritizes dialysis center funding

Published 6:32 pm Thursday, June 27, 2024

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The Lowndes County Commission voted to renew a grant writing contract with Deborah Stewart, CEO and senior consultant of Avalon Consulting Service, LLC during its June 24 meeting. After approving renewal of Stewart’s contract, commissioners tasked her with finding grants to fund a much-needed dialysis center for area residents.

“We need a dialysis center,” said Commission Chairman Charlie King, Jr. “But we need funding to [build] a building. Is it possible that you could be looking out to see if you could find some funding for that building?”

King explained to Stewart that roughly 65 dialysis patients reside in Lowndes County and travel to Montgomery three times each week for treatment.

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“It would definitely [help] them if they could just come right here to Hayneville or some surrounding area that would be closer,” King said. “Most of them don’t have transportation. They catch the rural transportation bus and after they finish treatment, they have to sit and wait for the bus to make its rounds. If we had one here in the county, they could go back home after taking treatment.”

Stewart said she would begin searching for funding sources. During the meeting, she also described the work she recently completed to assist the Lowndes County Unincorporated Wastewater Program (LCUWP) secure grant funding and said she is eager to help Lowndes County accomplish other goals as well.

“Ms. [Carmelita] Arnold and I have made some great strides together in positioning LCUWP to be a leader in the county,” Stewart said. “I know there’s still a desire to work towards developing the county and I’m very interested in helping that to happen.”

Commissioners heard from Lowndes County Attorney Prince Chestnut, who reviewed changes needed before approving a contract for garbage service with Martin Environmental Services, LLC. Commissioner Robert Harris expressed concern for language related to late fees Martin would charge past due customers and requested the addition of similar language permitting the county to levy late fees to the service whenever garbage collection is late or skipped entirely.

Lowndes County Sheriff appeared before the commission to answer questions about contracts for housing inmates from outside agencies and local municipalities. Chestnut asked about a contract with Maxwell Airforce Base, requiring corrections staff to meet requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act and whether corrections officer would meet the act’s standards.

“We’ve had a contract with [Maxwell] for six or seven years,” West said. “They are in and out of our facility all the time. Our people are certified by the state and some are certified through APOSTC (Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission).”

In other business:

* Harris and West engaged in a heated exchange related to the location of the Sheriff’s investigation office;

* The commission approved an appropriation of $4,000 for the Calhoun Community Organization;

* Commissioners voted to appropriate $1,700 to Harvest Tyme Ministries; and

* Commissioners discussed unusually high electricity bills incurred by customers served by Pioneer Electric.

The Lowndes County Commission will hold its next meeting on July 8 at 10 a.m. at the Charles Smith Annex Building inside the Lowndes County Commission Chambers.