BAY MINETTE — The Baldwin County Legislative Delegation will move into a new Bay Minette office following an agreement Tuesday, Nov. 16, with the Baldwin County Commission.Commissioners voted …
BAY MINETTE — The Baldwin County Legislative Delegation will move into a new Bay Minette office following an agreement Tuesday, Nov. 16, with the Baldwin County Commission.
Commissioners voted to lease a building on D'Olive Street after the delegation agreed to pay the entire cost of the lease, $49,080 a year. The initial resolution called for the commission and delegation to split the cost.
Under an act of the Alabama Legislature, the county commission must provide office space for the state delegation.
Commissioner Billie Jo Underwood, chairwoman of the budget committee, initially asked that the vote be postponed until commissioners and legislators could discuss the proposal.
"I just simply didn't think we had had an opportunity to discuss this and since there was an ask of the condition, a monetary amount," Underwood said.
She said she wanted to study the proposal before voting on it and committing the county to a five-year lease.
"I just simply wanted to have an opportunity to look at what was there," Underwood said. "This showed up on the agenda very quickly. And it's like, OK, we're going to enter into a five-year lease for something."
Cliff McCollum, director of constituent services, said several new legislators have been added to the Baldwin County delegation and that more space is needed in the Bay Minette area.
"The thought was having a presence in Bay Minette is very important to the delegation," McCollum said. "This is our county seat. This is a very important part of our government up here, especially for our members that are out of the county. We have five members of our delegation who do not live in Baldwin County."
The delegation has an office on Oak Street in Bay Minette, but he said the building is not adequate for the legislators' needs.
"It is the desire of the delegation that it be moved forward as expediently as possible so that we can make preparations for the office equipment we may be needing and the other things that we may need in preparation for the move," McCollum said. "Other things, such as supply chain issues and because of continued issues we've had, it would allow us more time to be able to just get started."
McCollum said the delegation would pay the entire cost of the lease if the commission would approve the action Tuesday.
"I believe that when we initially began this process, the delegation was thinking we were probably going to be on the hook for the whole thing anyway," he said.
Commissioner Jeb Ball said he would agree to the proposal if the delegation was paying the full cost but said the matter should have been brought up before the first meeting of the new term.
"If our attorney's OK with this modification and it doesn't cost us anything and we're not on the hook for anything," Ball said. "We're technically providing your space at no cost like we would anywhere else, but I do agree with Commissioner Underwood in the aspect of better communication on things like this. At an organizational meeting, we weren't expecting something like this."