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Jefferson County cemetery cleanup may begin in fall

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After it was created three years ago, the Jefferson County Cemetery Authority Board has never met, but the need is there for cleaning up overgrown and rundown cemeteries.

Thursday the Jefferson County legislative house delegation took important steps to get the board finally up and running.

The steps included reappointing members whose terms lapsed before ever meeting. Setting terms for some of the seven member board and picking a board chairman.

“It has been a long and difficult road to get the Jefferson County Cemetery Authority Board up and running,” said Rep. Jim Carns, (R) Vestavia Hills.

Carns said, “It has been one of the most frustrating things I have ever dealt with in the last three years.”

Jefferson County lawmakers had been unable to meet to decide crucial issues such as board members’ terms and a chairman to get the board set to tackle the cleanup process. “Initially we had some people who were even opposed to creating the board,” said Rep. Juandalyn Givan, (D) Birmingham.

But after some compromise the delegation voted for reappointments, terms and a board chair. Now the authority can tackle the big job of dealing with the multitude of complaints against some county cemeteries.

“My main message to them is to get to work. There is a need out here. The people who purchased these cemetery lots they are property owners and they need them more than ever before,” Givan said.

The board is expected to meet in about a month. Work on improving cemeteries could begin in the fall.

“It’s big business here and unfortunately we have slum lords operating these cemeteries. My next step is going to get the attorney general involved because there is a lot of fraud and malfeasance,” Givan said.

Rep. Givan is looking to add another $200,000 to the current authority budget for a total of $400,000. The money is coming out of the Sheriff’s pistol permit which in part goes to the Jefferson County legislative delegation.

The Jefferson County Cemetery Authority Board:

House Appointees

  • Chairman Korey Hameen
  • Randy Matthews
  • Venus Smith
  • Hannah Thompson

Senate Appointees

  • Evelyn Boykin
  • Connie Goldsby
  • Seventh Member must be Appointed by Senate

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