• 55°

Hale officials put off grant payment

Before Monday night’s meeting of the Hale County Commission could really get started, commissioner Joe Lee Hamilton Jr. made a motion that four items on the agenda to be tabled, and if needed, discussed in executive session.

Those items involved the disbursement of funds for various Community Development Block Grants (CDGB), and what were termed a “check authorization” and “a commission office issue.” Hamilton felt the issues would involve “too many personal things.”

Commission Chairman Leland Avery didn’t feel the issues should be discussed in executive session unless it involved good name and character. Hamilton then made a motion to table the issues. The motion was approved over the objection of commissioner Walter Allen.

Wendy Spiral, the chief auditor of CDBG for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), will come to Hale County next week to investigate some of the past projects, said commissioner Yolanda Watkins. “This is why we’re tabling this for later,” she said.

Commissioners had been at odds during the Jan. 20 meeting concerning final payment to complete a grant project.

The commission did go into an executive session after the regular agenda was completed. Hamilton said the session might take a while.

In other action from Monday’s meeting, Katanga A. Mants, the new county extension agent, told the commission about problems at her office including broken out exterior safety lights, rodent problems and water leaking.

The commission will seek prices on getting the work done on the leaking problem. Replacement of the lights and pest control will be paid from the county’s Capital Improvement Fund, Avery said.

The commission will ask Fitts Architects of Tuscaloosa to attend the next meeting to discuss estimates on fixing roof water damage in the courtroom of the county courthouse. Once they get the estimate, the county will pursue a grant to pay for the repairs, Avery said.

The water is running from the roof down through the courtroom to offices below, he said.

Chairman Avery talked to the commission about county redistricting. After the 2000 census, the district map must be adjusted with voters moving from commissioner Allen’s district to commissioner Watkins’ district to make the districts equitable according to population and race.

Avery gave the commission certain options. No action was taken. Watkins felt a workshop meeting was needed to discuss the issue further.

The commission voted to condemn two parcels of land through imminent domain for use in taking out some of the curve on a bridge project on Big Brush Road.