An amendment to the Alabama Constitution passed by voters in November hasn’t cleared up all confusion over which cities can enforce their laws in Calhoun County, members of the county commission said Thursday.
Voters statewide approved Amendment 10, which bars cities outside Calhoun County from exercising police jurisdiction or planning power beyond their city limits within Calhoun County. Alabama law normally allows cities such power up to 3 miles past their city limits, in an area sometimes called “the PJ” — short for “police jurisdiction” — even across county lines.
The rapid growth in recent years of Lincoln has angered some people who live within that city’s PJ. A group called Citizens Against Lincoln Expansion has gone to court to try to stop the city from charging taxes, patrolling streets and collecting business license fees beyond its limits. Because Lincoln is in Talladega County but very near the Calhoun County line, some of those residents are in Calhoun. They got state Rep. Randy Wood, a Saks Republican, to sponsor a bill setting up the vote for Amendment 10. It passed, but it hasn’t satisfied everyone, it seems.
“Amendment 10 left a lot of people confused,” Calhoun County Commission Chairman Tim Hodges said at a meeting Thursday. “We need to either amend the legislation or come up with something different.”
Hodges said he planned to call local lawmakers Thursday to arrange a meeting in hopes of getting some clarifying language into the law.
Carolyn Kirkland, secretary of the Big Oak Volunteer Fire Department north of Ohatchee, told commissioners at Thursday’s meeting that residents in her northern Calhoun County community are still having problems.
Kirkland said that prior to the amendment’s passage she went to Montgomery and that she was “told by our representatives that this was not just Lincoln. That it included everybody statewide.”
The amendment approved by voters Nov. 8 says that territory within Calhoun County can only be subject to the jurisdiction of cities “located wholly or partially in Calhoun County.”
Kirkland said that people in her community are still being taxed by the cities of Southside and Glencoe.
While most of Southside and Glencoe are in Etowah County, tiny parts of both cities’ limits extend south into Calhoun County. The 2010 census counted 155 Southside residents living in the half-square-mile of the city that’s within Calhoun County. Thirty-eight residents of Glencoe lived on the 0.39 square mile of that city in Calhoun County, according to the census.
Efforts to reach Kirkland and Hodges after the meeting to ask whether they understood that parts of Glencoe and Southside are in Calhoun County were unsuccessful.
In other business, the commission:
- Appointed George Salmon to the Calhoun Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
- Approved a lease/purchase agreement through Hancock Bank totalling $1.3 million for eight dump trucks and two tractors for the county’s Highway Department as part of the county’s annual replenishment of street equipment.
- Agreed to abate nuisances at properties at 2081 Old Choccolocco Road, 906 Pipe St. and 1032 Pipe St. in Anniston.
- Declared as a nuisance property located at 2045 Old Choccolocco Road in Anniston.
- Agreed to accept property adjacent to the bridge on Brown Bridge Road. The county plans to replace the bridge.
- Declared as surplus two 2008 Dodge Chargers, a 2008 Chevrolet Impala and a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria.