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March 9, 2020 – Matthew Hartzell gave an update on census operations. Using discretionary funds through the co-op extension, he is setting up events to get people out so they can be counted. Watch for these gatherings to start in coming weeks.

West Alabama Public Transportation requested the Commission designate them as public transport provider for the county. This is done annually and is only a renewal of an existing designation.

County Attorney Anthony Johnson will attend a conference in Orange Beach related to his duties as the county’s legal council. His request for travel expense and conference fees to be reimbursed passed.

Roads

County Engineer Jeff McKinney brought another BKI invoice of $12,078.90. This falls in line with first estimates of expected expenses of the Coldwater Road project.

Marvel Road, a four-mile project from Bulldog Bend to the Shelby County line, finished in 2010. However, ALDOT is just now closing it out, completing a report for cost adjustments. ALDOT now asks for an additional ~$20,000 to compensate for adjusted cost overruns. McKinney said it often takes several years for ALDOT to finalize projects because off testing for traffic impacts, actual cost studies, and many other reasons. The total project cost $970,000, making $20,000 seem a reasonable margin of error, the commissioners agreed. A motion passed to pay ALDOT the compensated amount.

Commissioners held a long conversation with the County Engineer after his formal request to take two trucks to auction – continuing the cycle of buying, financing, and auctioning trucks to keep the county working with the newest possible equipment for the lowest possible outlay of operating cash. Commissioner Keefe Burt advised to reduce the gamble of it, because a damaged truck that can’t be auctioned back would end the process if the budget doesn’t allow for it to be paid off without selling it. In response, McKinney said he understood the concern, but the Road Department is underfunded, and without enough trucks – which they don’t have – they are inefficient.

This evolved into another conversation about financing equipment and gas tax rules regarding where the money can go, as well as how much is expected within a few years. McKinney said he expects to see roughly $1.1 million in year three of the new gas tax setup, instead of the $550,000 the county would have received of federal money before.

The two trucks being auctioned off will be at the auction house in Montgomery on Thursday. McKinney requested the two old trucks be auctioned, and two new trucks be purchased via 100% financing. The money recovered from the two auctioned trucks would be used to pay down the two new trucks, after first being deposited in an account designated for holding this money. A motion by Sammy Holdsambeck to approve McKinney’s request passed unanimously.

McKinney also requested to attend a four-day conference that will add to his required Continuing Education Units. The Commission approved his request.

Commissioner James Kelly questioned the County Engineer as to what it would take to run both pothole patching machines the county currently has on hand. McKinney said four people were needed, because two minimum per truck are required for minor collector roads where flag men aren’t needed. After much discussion – where the question sometimes seemed muddy – the answer became that adding two full-time people – one CDL driver and one laborer – would allow for both pothole patchers to be running steadily. Commissioners discussed the possibility of making these new hires in the near future, once the new gas tax dollars begin depositing.

EMA

Active shooter training is scheduled for the March 31st from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

EMA Director Kurt Smith said when the EF-1 tornado came through Lawley last week, there was no hazardous weather expected that day. It caught the National Weather Service off guard. No alerts went out through the Bibb Alert system – an automated system relying on NWS computers.

Smith stated his concern that with mobile homes made since 2018, the state of Alabama no longer requires a tie-down anchor system, and allows a “pan” system that he says is much the same as having cinder blocks under the trailer. He contacted Auburn University structural engineers about the new system being used, and they are looking into the comparative effectiveness of the system versus a tie-down. Smith said the Lawley tornado “picked up a new double-wide and spun it around” because it wasn’t anchored, but used a “pan” system. Smith would like to have a Bibb County require that mobile homes have both pan and tie down systems, as he believes it will greatly increase the strength of the home.

[If you’re going to require both things], “you’re going to make it more expensive, and make it where some people can’t afford to buy the house,” Commissioner Burt countered. Burt requested Smith research why the pan system was made an option statewide in Alabama, and why or if it is preferable to the tie down system. The tie down system is still an option, and it is dependent on the homeowner as to which system is elected to be used. Either will meet state requirements, according to Smith.

Thanks

Commissioner Sammy Holdsambeck thanked Jeff McKinney and his crew for their help clearing after the storm in Lawley. He also thanked Kurt Smith and all the others who came out to help.

SOURCEThe Bibb Voice
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A father, creative professional, and an alumnus of Bibb County High School, Jeremy has found his way back to Centreville after many years away. He studied Finance and Economics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and almost a decade ago left the "normal" business world for audio and video production. A freelance writer, photographer, sound engineer, and film and video producer/director/editor, his work has appeared online for Southern Living, People, Health, Food & Wine, Sports Illustrated, Cooking Light, It's a Southern Thing, and This Is Alabama, as well as for independent musicians and filmmakers across Alabama.