Commission approves road department purchases

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Marengo County Commission accepted a bid for the road department to buy a new gas tank for their equipment during Tuesday’s monthly meeting.

The commission accepted the bid from Mike Hoffman’s Equipment Service in Mobile for $241, 594. County engineer Ken Atkins said the old tank was put in in the early 1990s.

“We really don’t have a choice,” Atkins said. “The old tank needs to come up.”

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The commission also gave Atkins permission to purchase two small dump trucks off of state bids. He said the motor went out in one of the trucks they have now, leaving him with one truck running. The road department had money in the budget to buy the trucks.

Marengo County Sheriff Richard Bates gave the commission an update on the county jail during Tuesday’s meeting to address their concern during July’s meeting from the grand jury report.

Bates said the grand jury mentioned a hole in the holding cell in their most recent report, and that the hold has been covered with a metal plate that was welded down. He also addressed the grand jury’s concern about the cleanliness of the kitchen.

“We sweep and mop the kitchen floors after every meal,” Bates said.

Sheriff deputies Lewis Bailey and Randy Sanders spoke to the commission about courthouse security in light of a recent shooting that occurred outside the jail on July 2.

They asked the commission to consider using armed security in the courthouse, which they said would be more beneficial than the current system.

“We haven’t had any incidents of somebody coming in and trying to shoot the place up, but we have had incidences where armed personnel could be useful,” Bailey said.

Bailey added that having one person to stay at the front door of the courthouse and one person patrolling the courthouse on the inside, outside and at the office building next door would be most beneficial. In order to be an armed guard in a courthouse, an APOSTC certification is required. If hires were made to fill these positions, they would have to go through the certification course.

Sanders said he will put together a proposal in time for the commission’s budget hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 27 so they can consider having armed guards at the courthouse.

In other business, the commission took the following action:

•Approve user fee CD rate of .75 percent for six months at Sweet Water State Bank

•Tentatively set the date for the budget hearing for Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m.

•Approve Marengo County E-911 director Kevin McKinney’s Threats, Hazards, Identification and Risk Assessment. The THIRA was requested last year by FEMA in order to keep their funding for E-911. The THIRA identifies and evaluates threats and hazards to the area.

•Approve a wage increase for Sarah Dailey at the Marengo County Public Library

•Permit the closing of Deep Creek Road to make it a private road

The commission also listened to comments from citizens about Southern Pine Road and Spearmint Road.

The Rev. Earnest Eirby addressed the commission about Southern Pine Road, inquiring if a 2.4-mile stretch of the road could be paved to Highway 10.

“We have several people on the road with medical concerns, and it would be difficult for an ambulance to get in there with the road in the condition it’s in,” Eirby said.

Atkins said it would cost approximately $1.9 million to pave that stretch of road. Commissioner Calvin Martin said the best the commission can do now is to make sure the road department keeps the road up.

“We have to continue maintaining the road and hope funds come available,” Martin said. “We’ll continue to work with the engineers to see what we can do.”

Alex Jones spoke to the commission about Spearmint Road, which is a private road on the east side of the county near the Hale County line. He said landowners on the road put a gate up to stop people from dumping garbage along the road several years ago. He asked the commission if there was anything they could do to fix the road.

“We can’t do anything on a private road,” Commissioner Freddie Armstead said. “The only way we could help is if all the landowners agree to make it a public road, then we approve the request to make it public.”

The commission said they would give Jones information about companies that do the work that is required on the road.