With all Commissioners present for their first outdoor meeting – done so to avoid the 10 person occupancy restriction set in social distancing orders – it was down to business quickly in reviewing the minutes and backed-up business of a month of no meetings.
EMA Urges Self Quarantine
“All agencies in our county have been working well together,” EMA Director Kirk Smith said as he delivered the update that Bibb now has 42 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. He thanked everyone that has been helping, and continued by addressing a problem that has quickly becoming known because of social media.
“There is a problem we’ve seen with people testing positive and still going to the store and all over,” Smith said.
According to Smith, within about 3 days of testing positive, an individual will get a call from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) informing them of the positive result. At that point they are to be self-quarantined for two weeks minimum. Individuals violating the mandatory self-quarantine will be investigated and may be issued citations for violation of a public health order, or even in some instances for trespassing. If local police find someone in violation they report the case to ADPH as well, which will take further action. Depending on many circumstances, that person could even serve jail time.
Below is an excerpt of some specifics of the revised “safer-at-home” order from the Governor, copied here for those in the back. (read the entire order by following the link here):
1. Recommendations for individuals. Effective April 30, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all
individuals—and especially vulnerable persons—are encouraged to exercise personal
responsibility in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by:
a. Minimizing travel outside the home, especially if sick;
b. Wearing face coverings around people from other households when it is necessary to leave the home;
c. Washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces;
d. Refraining from touching one’s face;
e. Sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or the inside of one’s elbow; and
f. Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
“Vulnerable persons” means individuals 65 years and older or individuals with serious
underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.
2. Quarantine for infected persons. Effective immediately, any person who has tested positive for COVID-19—other than institutionalized persons—shall be quarantined to their place of residence for a period of 14 days, or other period of time as directed by the State Health Officer, or his designee, after receiving positive test results. Any person quarantined pursuant to this provision shall not leave their place of residence for any reason other than to seek necessary medical treatment. Any person requiring assistance while under quarantine may contact Alabama Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, http://alvoad.communityos.org/cms. While under quarantine, the person shall take precautions as directed by his or her health care provider or the Alabama Department of Public Health to prevent the spread of the disease to others.
Regardless of the change announced by the Governor today, moving from a “shelter-in-place” order to a “safer-at-home” order, self-quarantine for individuals testing positive who are not hospitalized is still mandatory and will be enforced. The new updates are below as bullet points, copied from the Governor’s website:
Invoices and Disbursements
As a matter of normal business, invoices were approved to be paid for work already completed and distribution of funds were approved to parks and others:
- Emergency Medical and Ambulance Services were approved to be paid for the months of February, totaling $8,114.84 covering 234 calls, and for March, totaling $8,351.08 covering 297 calls.
- Nelson Heating and Cooling for work at the Courthouse $2,500, and work at the Jail $5,000.
- Premier Chevrolet for a repair to a Sheriff Department vehicle $4,182.
- Park Boards in north and south Bibb will receive $17,136 each for the year.
- Indigent Funeral Expense for Mr. Charlie Esther James: $200 contribution.
Bibb County Airport Authority representative Shane Wallace addressed the Commission regarding a ALDOT-backed grant and construction project that they had previously passed a resolution to support in October, 2019. According to Wallace, some additional funding may be available due to the coronavirus crisis.
The grant funding was to revitalize the taxiway, as recommended by a consultant firm and supported by ALDOT. However, after submitting for the grant, ALDOT suggested finding a different project for this year and pushing the taxiway back a year. Then COVID-19 happened and stimulus bills passed. This caused a call from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) saying they would fund a project 100% this year. Here’s where it gets confusing.
Before a project like a taxiway rebuild can be done, planning and engineering (P&E) must happen. The FAA will pay for the P&E 100% on the taxiway as their full funded project this year. According to their own rules, however, that obligates them to fund the project to completion within 2-3 years after the P&E is done. They would “only” fund 90% of the subsequent project, however.
ALDOT will still contribute through the grant funding already applied for – to a different project – this year. They would also typically contribute 5% to an FAA grant project. The FAA covers 90%, the State (ALDOT) 5%, which leaves Bibb County covering 5%. If ALDOT for some reason (unlikely) doesn’t match their share, it could leave the County holding a bill for 10%. So, how much is that?
The maximum estimated cost for the project is $1.1million. Which means, best case scenario, we are out $50,000 to get a whole new taxiway. Worst case, we spend $100,000 over 3+ years to get a whole new taxiway.
“From a nickel to a dime on the dollar, out of pocket, cost to improve the airport … and this is something they’ll require at some point anyway?” Commissioner Keefe Burt commented.
“They could shut it down now,” Wallace confirmed regarding the future requirement to keep the airport open.
The Commission approved the measure unanimously.
Road Work Payments and Refunds
Closing out more expenses related to the Coldwater Road repaving, the Commission approved to pay invoices to BKI for engineering and inspection. One of these for $2,648 was part of the expected expenses of the project. The other, $7,758, was part of an overage due to extended time from unavoidable circumstances.
The Road Department also requested payment for repairs to a front-end loader for $8,757, and a front differential repair to the GradeAll machine for $7,500.
On a positive concerning Road Department money, County Engineer Jeff McKinney reports that a rebate initiated by ALDOT for 2 past-completed projects totaled $12,711. This refund was not expected, but was a welcomed addition to the 2-cent fund.
McKinney also reported that the revenue from sale of the two trucks taken to auction had been applied to the loan for the new Kenworths recently purchased.
April 2020 was declared Fair Housing Month by unanimous proclamation.
Brierfield EMA, having just acquired a new vehicle, has donated an older Chevy Tahoe to the Sheriff’s department.
A savings account used as a holding area for funds from the 1-cent school tax was approved to be closed, as the new arrangement of an 80/20 split with schools and county has necessitated a different banking setup. The roughly $38 balance in the account will be added to other county accounts.
The County Attorney was not present for this meeting and had no report.