Residents voice concerns to County Commission

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2007

LINDEN &8212; For the second time in a two-month period, residents of Pinhook Road brought their concerns about the condition of the county road they live on to the County Commission.

According to Roy Emberg, a resident of Pinhook Road, the residents received a letter from County Engineer Ken Atkins stating work would begin on the road to both widen it and add clay gravel to the surface.

Chairman John Crawford responded to Emberg, saying the county does not have the funds to pave the road, but they would be able to widen the road and put down clay gravel.

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Emberg stated the clay gravel, which is intended to fix the road, was the beginning of the road&8217;s problems.

Another concern brought up by Emberg was the issue of which district the road falls into, which the commission confirmed is in both District 3, Crawford&8217;s district, and District 5, Commissioner Jerry Loftin&8217;s district.

Commissioner Ken Tucker informed Emberg the money used by the county is not split up by district and is used on a unit system as needed throughout the county.

Emberg persisted, asking Loftin whether or not he told voters during his re-election bid that he would make upgrading Pinhook Road a priority. Loftin said this is the intent of the commission currently.

Another problem throughout the discussion of the work on Pinhook Road has been with obtaining easements from all the property owners in order to expand the road. Some of the residents have agreed to a larger easement to accommodate county work, while others have resisted.

Emberg said he is taking his concern to the Alabama Department of Transportation in Montgomery in order to secure funds for the road to be paved.

Countywide Litter Problems

According to Roy Jordan and Walter Tutt, two residents of Marengo County, litter along the roads had become a major concern even after the efforts of John Bell, solid waste inspector for the county.

Jordan presented the commission with the following statistics: over 38 billion plastic bottles are manufactured and thrown away each year and over 1 trillion plastic bags. Jordan urged the commission to come up with a plan to deal with the trash problem in Marengo County.

Tutt said one way to combat the problem would be to place trash containers throughout the county and seek out some kind of private funds to maintain them.

Commissioner Freddie Armstead said in the past containers were placed everywhere but they created more of a problem. Furthermore, Armstead said, every resident is required to have a garbage can for their trash. Those who cannot pay for a container are listed as exempt status and are still given a trash receptacle.

Despite those requirements, Tutt said there are still people in the county who do not have trash receptacles. He said the only other means &8212; in his mind &8212; to correct the problem is to fine people for littering. Tutt continued by saying Bell has been able to prosecute individuals for littering, but the burden of proof in the court system has not allowed them to make a dent in the issue.

A new van for West Alabama Mental Health

For the second time, Kelley Parris-Barnes, executive director of West Alabama Mental Health, presented the commission with a request for assistance in securing additional travel means for her organization.

Furthermore, they are operating with approximately $33,000 a month just for contract transportation costs through West Alabama Transportation. Barnes estimates they put approximately 60,000 miles a year on their oldest van.

Each month, the organization serves 1,900 people with 33 different programs.

After some discussion, the commission approved a motion made by Tucker to loan a van &8212; which was secured by the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission through grant funds &8212; on a temporary basis. The van will be used only for residents of Marengo County who receive services from West Alabama Mental Health.