By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Given the headlines seen in recent years from other counties about financial woes, it is no wonder that Etowah County Commissioner Jeff Overstreet views Etowah County’s fiscal health as a positive accomplishment.
Overstreet represents District 4, and recently announced he will seek another term on the county commission.
“It is a tremendous honor to serve the people of District 4 and Etowah County, and it is my hope that I have earned their trust and vote for another four years,” Overstreet said.
One of the keys to gaining that trust has been fiscally conservative leadership, and Overstreet said he plans to continue to make sure Etowah County’s tax dollars are spent and managed wisely.
“I have worked hard to keep the county’s reserve funds at adequate levels,” Overstreet said, despite the tough economy. “We have had balanced budgets along with surpluses every year that I have been in office and if re-elected, I look forward to keeping Etowah County in sound financial shape.
During the past two and a half years, Overstreet said he’s helped the county secure more than $3.5 million in federal, state and local funds for road replacement and improvement projects.
Along with the completed projects, he said, several bridge replacement projects are slated for District 4, fully funded by ATRIP (Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program).
Overstreet has a number of priorities for the coming year and for another term in office. He said he plans to continue to actively recruit new jobs and industries to District 4 and Etowah County, and to support schools so that the children of Etowah County can continue to receive a quality education.
Overstreet said public safety is of the utmost concern to him and he vows to ensure that the funding and support of public safety agencies is a top priority.
Cooperation among commissioners and local elected officials is essential to being an effective leader, Overstreet said. He said he looks forward to working with his fellow commissioners and other local elected officials for another term.
“I would also like to thank all of the county employees for the hard work they do,” he said. “Their dedication, diligence, and work ethic is to be commended and I am proud to be an outspoken advocate for them whenever I have the opportunity,” Overstreet continued.
It seems in any campaign, questions may be raised. Overstreet said he decided to announce his bid for re-election in late July because a rumor had circulated that he might not run.
At the Aug. 6 commission meeting, Overstreet said questions had been raised about his service on the state county commissioner’s association liability board, implying that he someone was discouraging the commission from seeking workman’s comp coverage outside the association’s pool coverage.
Overstreet said that has never been and would never be the case. He said he serves on the board voluntarily and without compensation. However, until the campaign season ends, he said he will take no part in discussions related to workman’s compensation.
“If that topic comes up,” Overstreet said, “I will step out of the room.”
Fellow commissioner Tim Choate was troubled by the implication that commission members serving on boards such as the one Overstreet is part of conflicts with their duties as commissioners.
He said the suggestion of any conflict is “a travesty,” and said the work done on boards like the liability board is important.