By Ray King

With facemasks and gloves on and spread out through the entire lobby of the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Quorum Court met for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and this time combined both committee meetings and the regular meeting into one session.

Before the meeting began, County Judge Gerald Robinson announced that he had issued an executive order for a county-wide curfew. Robinson explained his reasons for the curfew.

Robinson said there are some municipalities in the county that do not have full-time law enforcement officers and he and other county officials have received reports of groups of people gathering at those locations in violation of the Governor’s orders limiting crowds to 10 or less. For cities like Redfield and White Hall, both of whom have full time law enforcement officers, they can enforce the curfew without having to have their own city council adopt one, Robinson said.

The same holds true for Wabbaseka, which has a part-time officer and Robinson said that officer was one of the people who contacted him about the need for a county-wide curfew. Altheimer has no law enforcement officers but Robinson said they have an agreement with the sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement in that community.

He went on to say that while he did not have to have approval from the Quorum Court, he wanted them to be aware of the order.

“We’re not trying to hide anything,” Robinson said.

He said the curfew order was actually issued on April 1 but was not publicized because he wanted the Quorum Court to be aware of it.

In other business, the county’s legislative body approved an ordinance which will allow Robinson to enter into an agreement with The P3 Group, Inc., to provide services including assisting in securing funding, developing designs and supervising construction of a new Jefferson County Health Department, a new Coroner’s Office and a Veterans Affairs Office.

The group made a presentation to the Quorum Court in March and Robinson the quorum court would have to approve the projects. The authorization simply means that the company can begin preparing proposed drawings of the facilities.

The new Health Department will go on the campus at Jefferson Regional and the Veterans Affairs Office at 114 State. Robinson said they are looking at a vacant lot on East 2nd near the former Coca Cola bottling plant for the coroner’s office.