By Dr. Jesse Lewis, Sr.
It’s always important to focus on great things that the city, county and state have accomplished over the past year. It can help motivate people to continue to push forward when they recognize their hard work is making changes for the people. Jefferson County had a great year in 2016 economically and made strides in other areas as well.
SmartAsset calculated Jefferson County’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth index was in the top 5 percent of all counties in the United States. In fact, the metro area’s GDP was greater than Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville combined. Last year also announced more than $500 million in economic development projects. The largest was Project Sunrise with a $120 million capital investment, and 746 new jobs.
The business community also received help from the county. Jefferson County invested more than $2 million in workforce development efforts that targeted needed skills. This helps people get the job training skills that they need for their jobs, to make business run properly in the county.
During the election season there was a lot of talk about Amendment 14 and the argument for and against it. The County Commission actively supported the passage of Amendment 14, which removes one of the major obstacles to increased funding for roads, schools and economic development.
The Sheriff opened the Metro Area Crime Center with funding provided by the Jefferson County Commission, which helps the department put more eyes on the streets and keep the county safer.
Other accomplishments include the county served 15 percent more indigent patients at Cooper Green than were served the year before, the Hoover satellite courthouse was opened and plans for the Gardendale satellite courthouse was announced and almost 50 miles of roads were paved and 10 storm shelter were constructed.
It’s important to recognize the commission invested more than $250,000 in community projects from schools to museums to fire districts, and the County’s Board of Registrars added 40,000 new voters.
If we remind ourselves of the good work that we have done, it can help push the entire area forward to continue to greatness.