Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

by | May 25, 2017 | County, County News, Crime, Cullman, Images, Legislators, Politics, Public Safety, Representative Corey Harbison

Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

An ongoing series of Town Hall meetings across Cullman County resumed this week.

An ongoing series of Town Hall meetings across Cullman County resumed this week.

Hosted by District 12 Representative Corey Harbison, Sheriff Matt Gentry and Associate Commissioner Garry Marchman, Town Hall meetings took place at the Beat 8 Community Center on Monday and the Grandview Community Center on Tuesday evening.

These Town Hall meetings allow Cullman County elected officials to meet face-to-face with residents throughout the various communities around the County.

Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

Sheriff Matt Gentry explains one of the goals of the Town Hall meetings this way:

“To me, these Town Hall meetings are about transparency in government. The citizens placed their confidence in us with their votes. I want to return that trust by providing them with the best law enforcement possible AND making sure I understand their needs.

 

Each community in Cullman County is different than the other. As a result, I want to make sure I meet with residents on a regular basis so I can be clear about their needs, hear their suggestions and discuss the best use of the Sheriff’s Office resources in their areas.

 

The Sheriff’s Office is not ‘my’ office; it is the Citizen’s Office. These Town Halls are crucial in allowing all interested parties to interact and get to know our law enforcement officers outside of a crisis environment and vice versa. I think this sort of one-on-one interaction is great for the community, great for our office and makes everyone’s life safer and stronger.”

Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

The topics of these Town Hall meetings are as varied as the citizens who attend. In Grandview, some of the key issues involved the state of county roads, the challenges in Montgomery particular to Cullman the and ongoing fight against illegal drugs and crime in rural Cullman.

Representative Harbison spent ample time explaining that his role at the State Capitol is more than just enacting new laws:

“Everyone thinks a Legislators primary job is to pass new, forward-thinking legislation that is ultimately for the good of the people. That is true.

 

However, I’ve learned that it is just as important in my job as your Representative to make sure bad legislation never becomes law. There are many, many proposed bills that make their way for consideration by lawmakers; some are just plain horrible. Others may seem acceptable on the surface, but when we study them – if passed into law – they would be a disaster.

 

As an example: Take Senate Bill 112, the one about law enforcement agencies keeping a record of all traffic stops. Law enforcement ALREADY has information in their dispatch systems across the state. This bill would have forced deputies and officers to sit there and waste another 10 minute or more filling out a report for information that already exists. Just an extra effort is a pointless duplication of time and effort that would be better used stopping crime and responding to the next incident. It would have been a bad bill. I was pleased to try and kill it.”

Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

Associate Commissioner Garry Marchman devoted ample time to listen to citizen’s concerns over the condition of the deteriorating Cullman County roads system.

In 1973, the State of Alabama ‘gifted’ the roadway system to the County Commission that serves all parts of the County. The state did not provide for the ongoing maintenance of those roads. As a result, as these surfaces age their cost of maintenance has increased far faster than the County Commissions revenues and budget can keep up with:

“I get more phone calls about problems with Cullman County roads than anything else I deal with as your Commissioner. For every 20 calls, 19 are about an issue with a particular road somewhere in the County.

 

We have been able to systematically upgrade many of larger thoroughfares(like County Roads 222, 437 and 747). But the shorter, less traveled roads can only be afforded patch jobs right now. It is easily the most challenge issue we face at the County Commission.”

Throughout, Marchman emphasized that he wants to promote trust and availability to citizens through these Town Hall meetings:

“I have to tell you; I like town hall type meetings. I’ve been involved in some version of these since I was elected. Meeting people face-to-face and listening to their concerns is vital to me. I am an open book. You can contact me – anytime – via e-mail or by telephone.”

The Commissioner can be reached at 256-775-4930 or gmarchman@co.cullman.al.us.

Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

Perhaps the biggest pleasant surprise Tuesday night was the venue itself: the Grandview Community Center. Formerly known as Grandview School it sits on an incredibly picturesque location just northwest of Grandview bridge on County Road 222.

This old school building has been fully restored and meticulously maintained. With a capacity of nearly 100 people, it is a spectacular building to host everything from Town Hall meetings to weddings to community events of all kinds.

Mr. Smith is the Chairman of the Grandview Board. The venue rents for $85 per day. It is a steal at that price. You can contact him at 256-734-7389 for further details.

According to Representative Harbison, the citizen response to these Town Halls meeting has been tremendous and valuable. He will announce a new slate of scheduled events across Cullman County shortly.

IMAGES from Town Hall Meeting
CLICK Any Image To Enlarge
Grandview Community Center
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Town Hall Meetings Pack Grandview & Beat 8 Community Centers

Timothy Collins

Originally from Asheville, NC, Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com and/or (256) 615-8260.