Commission plans for upcoming year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

How long have you been on the county commission?

This is my second term.

How long are the terms?

The terms last four years.

What lead you to run for the Marengo County Commission?

I had just completed leadership Alabama, and I was impressed with the need for good, progressive, professional community leaders to get involved in their communities to try and make things better for the constituents.

In Leadership Alabama there are five major areas that are given emphasis in the course over a six to eight month period. There are retreats. One concentrates on government, the legislature and local government. Another concentrates on healthcare, another on education, another on economic development and another on diversity. The major areas that would have an impact on moving the state forward in a progressive manner. You really are exposed to high-level leaders, and I was just impressed by the fact that everyone should do what they can to improve their local communities.

I was moved by experience there to run. I was fortunate enough to win the first contest and this last election I had no opposition, which I take as some indication that people were pleased with what I was doing.

What are some of the things that you think have helped the community through your work on the commission?

This last year we had two major projects. One was completing the renovations to the courthouse, which was a major undertaking. It was a $3.9 million project, and we have completed that and the last of the various departments are moving back into the courthouse this week.

That was a major undertaking because of the depth and scope of the project. We had to relocate all those housed in the building for the duration of the renovations. We went over the amount of time we had planned for the project to take, but we also cam in under budget.

The other thing I am proud to have had a hand in is the water project we are working on. It will provide around 30 households access to clean water provided by the county. After the project is completed the entire county, with the exception of a very few scattered here and there in groups of less than five houses, will have access to clean, palatable drinking water.

What are some of the projects that the commission will be working on during the next year?

We are still working on the water project but the plans should be complete at the beginning of the year and work will hopefully begin sometime in February.

After that we are going to look at new ways to entice economic development. We are trying to entice businesses to come here, and we are wanting to help businesses here already grow. One way to do that is to get the communities here to work together. To get them to realize that they aren’t competing against each other for the businesses but rather against other areas and groups of communities. We need to look at establishing a business district to encourage growth.

After that we will focus on roads and transportation in the area. There are over 300 unpaved roads in the county and we will need to identify the highest traffic ones and prioritize how to move forward. Once the water project is finished it will free up even more funds to put toward paving roads.