CITY OF BESSEMER, ALABAMA
Government

The city of Bessemer’s Municipal Court and Lawson State Community College on today announced a new initiative aimed at giving misdemeanor offenders in the city an opportunity to clear their record and learn job skills.  

Operation Arrested But Corrected (A.B.C.) is a program developed between the two institutions to create an alternative sentencing and continuing education program in the Bessemer community. The program will give defendants arrested for a misdemeanor in the city of Bessemer an option to enroll in certification and job training courses through LSCC after his/her court appearance. The program will be an alternative to serving jail time, officials said.  

Involvement in the program will be at the discretion of a municipal court judge. If the defendant successfully completes the desired courses, the misdemeanor charges will be dismissed at no cost. The partnership will also help offenders find employment opportunities once the alternative sentencing phase is completed.

The initial phase of the program will start in the summer/fall of 2019 and will involve only court offenders. However, Municipal Court Magistrate Dr. Maurice Muhammad said the campaign could be expanded in the future to include those outside the court system.

Offenders will have an opportunity to be engaged in one of three programs offered through LSCC’s Adult Education Program:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant Program,
  • Certified Construction Apprentice Program,
  • Class B CDL.  

To learn more, contact Magistrate Dr. Muhammad at (205) 426-8602.

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City Life, Public Safety, Upcoming Event
The city of Bessemer Police Department will host the annual National Night Out in Bessemer on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at the Bessemer Recreation Center, 100 14th Street South.

The event will take place between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. There will be free food, drinks and popcorn. School supplies will also be given away.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

For more information on the event in Bessemer, contact Police Sgt. Alexia Bruister at 205-417-3900.

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Arts & Entertainment, City Life

Published with permission of The Cutoff News.

Volunteers from the Bessemer Historic Society showed up to help begin the cleanup and restoration of the Lincoln Theater in downtown Bessemer on Saturday, July 13th.

The Bessemer Historic Society volunteers removed almost a complete dumpster full of garbage from the once majestic theater. They swept the floors and removed a lot of dust that has built up over the years.

Benjamin and Connie Hancox of Standard Furniture provided lunch from Bob Sykes for the volunteers. Glenny Brock of the Alabama / Lyric Theater was on hand to guide in the cleanup efforts. Ann Griffin of Hueytown also dedicated to helping with the cleanup.

The Lincoln Theater was built and opened in 1948, with seating provided in orchestra and balcony levels. It catered to African-American audiences. It was closed in the late-1970’s.

The theater was purchased in 2017 by award-winning actor and Bessemer native Andre Holland and is being restored by his non-profit Holland Project, established in 2018.

“On behalf of The Lincoln-Holland Project we would like to extend our deepest appreciation and gratitude to all the volunteers who contributed with the Lincoln Theatre clean up. The support that we’ve received has been remarkable, and we sincerely thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts,” says Mary Holland of the Lincoln-Holland Project.

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Economic Development, Government

The city of Bessemer continues to operate with strong financial management as evidenced by another successful audit, city officials were told earlier this week.

The audit, which covers the period from Oct. 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, was completed by the firm of Kellum, Wilson and Associates, P.C. The audit was presented to Mayor Kenneth Gulley and members of the City Council during the July 9, 2019 Planning Session.

“The city is healthy financially and that comes from good financial management,” said CPA Lori Kes, the City’s external auditor.

Kes noted that city’s general fund revenue increased by 11.6 percent compared to FY17. Tax revenue increased by 9.1 percent, exceeding expectations. Kes further noted, that there were significant improvements in the city’s sales tax collection and attributed a portion of this increase to the city’s participation in the state of Alabama’s Simplified Sellers Use Tax. This tax allows online sellers to collect and remit a flat fee for sales made online.

Overall, the city’s actual revenues exceeded budgeted revenues for the year. City expenditures decreased 1 percent during the same time period, the audit shows.

Mayor Gulley praised the work of Finance Director/Treasurer Kela Pryor, CPA and staff for their roles in maintaining the city’s strong financial status.

“The city of Bessemer continues to operate under good financial management”, city officials were told earlier this week in a presentation of the most recent audit.

The city’s Finance Department is responsible for safeguarding the city’s finances. It oversees treasury management, accounts payable, purchasing, revenue collection, debt management, budgeting, payroll and human resources and internal auditing. In addition, the finance department is responsible for grant management, contract compliance, and the establishment and implementation of internal controls policy and procedure.

Each year the city of  Bessemer provides its completed audit report on-line. To read the audit report, click City of Bessemer Financial Statement 2018.

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Economic Development, Government
Officials with the city of Bessemer and the Bessemer Airport Authority broke ground Tuesday morning on construction of a 14,220 square foot hangar project at the Bessemer Municipal Airport.

The $750,000 project is being funded by the combination of a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and a loan from Cadence Bank. Garver Inc. is providing project management and design, while Wayne Davis Construction will serve as the general contractor.

The project will include 10 individual T-hangars with large opening doors to accommodate Cirrus aircraft. Construction of the hangers is expected to be completed by December, said Tim Wasyluka, Airport manager.

City officials hailed the groundbreaking as another milestone in the city’s economic development efforts. The Bessemer Municipal Airport is a public-use airport and is categorized as a reliever airport for the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Several companies and private jets currently lease or own hangars at the airport.

Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said the airport is becoming an important piece of the city’s industry recruitment efforts. In past years, city and airport officials have been able to market the airport and its location in the region to prospective companies such as Steyr Arms USA.

The hangar project will only aid those efforts, city officials said.

“We want the airport to grow and this is the first step in growing it,” said Bessemer councilwoman Donna Thigpen, who represents the city on the authority’s board.

Construction of the hangars is the latest in a series of recent upgrades at the facility. In June, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the Bessemer Airport is in line to receive $2,277,393 to rehabilitate the airport’s runway and runway lighting.

Last fall, Birmingham-based Sanders Capital Partners announced that it had acquired three corporate hangars at the Bessemer Airport for $1.3 million. Jackson Stewart, general counsel for Sanders Capital Partners, said at the time that Bessemer is playing an “increasingly significant” role in the aviation mix in the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa markets.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens, a pilot himself, said much of the major work at the airport was done prior to national events such as 9/11 and the Great Recession. Those events slowed progress at the airport. Stephens said he hopes the city, county and state can continue working together to grow the airport.

“It’s taken us a long time to kickstart this economic engine for Bessemer and western Jefferson County,” Stephens said.
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Arts & Entertainment, Upcoming Event
The city of Bessemer and the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce will host an Independence Day Celebration in the city on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

The celebration will take place at Bessemer City High School, 4950 Premiere Parkway. Festivities will start at 6:30 p.m. and last until 9 p.m., with the annual fireworks show scheduled for approximately 8:45 p.m. Pyro Shows of Alabama will conduct the fireworks show.

The celebration will include music by DJ Mac Taylor 98.7 KISS FM. There will be free ice cream, watermelon, nachos and beverages. The Chamber of Commerce will sponsor free giveaways.
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Uncategorized
There will be two free Jazz in the Park concerts in the city of Bessemer this month.

The first concert is scheduled for Sunday, June 23, 2019 at DeBardeleben Park, 1623 Second Avenue North. The concert is sponsored by the city of Bessemer and will start at 6 p.m. Scheduled performers will be Pedro Moore and Buff Dillard.

The second concert is slated for Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Bessemer Recreation Center, 100 14th Street South. The concert is presented by Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson and will start at 6 p.m. Scheduled performers include Kenya.

Jazz in the Park, organized by Magic City Smooth Jazz, is in its 10th year of hosting free concerts in the state of Alabama.

Since its inception in 2008, Magic City Smooth Jazz has presented over 125 FREE concerts to the public while presenting over 300 emerging and established artists while impacting the lives of over 20,000 adults and children.
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