Commission puts road closing on hold

Published 11:09 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Marengo County Commission was joined Tuesday morning by a group of concerned citizens from the Nicholsville area about the potential closing of Deep Creek Road in south Marengo County.

Former county commissioner Jerry Lofton spoke for the group, saying he was concerned about closing the road because utilities are run down the road.

“There are power, water and phone lines on that road,” Lofton said. “When I saw that it was being advertised to close, I thought it was a mistake.”

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Commissioner John Crawford Jr., said the power lines would be able to be moved easily, which would also make the service better for the citizens in the area. He added that utility trucks would still have access to a closed road because the companies would either receive a key to the lock on the gate, or they would use their own locks on the gate for access.

The commission decided not to take action on the road closing until the next meeting to consider the comments from the citizens.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the commission also voiced concern over the grand jury report from a session on June 9-11. Commissioner Freddie Armstead said it is the county’s responsibility to make sure the jail is properly taken care of, and he was unhappy with the recommendations made by the grand jury for the facility.

“Something has to be done about this report,” Armstead said. “Things aren’t being done properly, and it’s our responsibility to make sure it’s done right.”

The grand jury made the following recommendations to the court:

•Better pay for grand jurors

•Painting needs to be done around the jail

•Repair floor in holding cells in the jail

•Kitchen floor in the jail should be cleaned daily

•One grand juror suggested that inmates in the jail should receive two meals per day instead of three

•Better pay for employees at the jail

Armstead said the painting, floor repair and kitchen floor cleaning should be taken care of immediately and that the pay of the employees at the jail would be discussed by the commission for the next budget.

The sheriff has control over when the inmates would be fed, and the commission believed Sheriff Richard Bates would not reduce the meals at the jail. The pay for grand jurors is set by the state, so the county would have no control over that recommendation.

“Some things are out of our hands, but if we don’t do something, we’ll be up for a lawsuit,” Armstead said. “We have to address the issues we can control.”

In other business, the commission approved the hire of Benjamin Boykin by the county road department as a part time road grader operator.

The commission also approved the preliminary grant contract for the paving of Gandy Ferry Road to Spillway Falls Park in Demopolis.