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Marengo County Commission approves application for $300,000 CDBG grant

At the March 9 Marengo County Commission meeting, Frank Dobson of the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission (ATRC) reported that Marengo County is eligible for $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds under the CARES Act. At the Feb. 9 meeting, the commission voted to request that the ATRC write a non-competitive CDBG that would be used to help the county respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stipulation with the funds is the money must be used for projects to manage COVID-19 or future pandemics.

“It has to touch, reach out, or try to stop any COVID-19 or any other pandemic that might come through the area,” said Dobson. “You can’t use it as a regular CDBG.”

Dobson said that if the grant is approved, some of the funds will be used to pave the parking lot at Whitfield Regional Hospital. The remaining funds will be used for a new roof on the old National Guard Armory building in Linden. The armory building currently serves as the MCEDA and County Extension office.

Scott Lewis, with Lewis Properties, requested that the county commission vacate Big Buck Creek Road. It is a short, dirt road that nearby residents seldom use.

“Over the last few months, we’ve had some trouble with night hunters, and a camp house on the road has had some things go missing,” said Lewis. “It could really help the community to close that road.”

All landowners in the area have agreed to have the road vacated.

Curry Pugh approached the Commission about access and maintenance of Turkey Creek Road. Commissioner Calvin Martin said that he had spoken with Engineer Ken Atkins and that residents will still have access to their property, but no work can be done on residences’ private drives.

Probate Judge Laurie Hall reported that holes in the Records Room floor are allowing cold air into the building in the winter. The Commission approved her request to repair the holes and add insulation under the floor. The estimated cost of repair is $1,800.

EMA Director Kevin McKinney said that COVID-19 numbers in Marengo County are decreasing, but not as much as in the surrounding counties.

“We’re still running around 150 new cases in 14 days, while the other counties are around 40 and 30 new cases,” said McKinney.

McKinney said one of the main problems is the county not receiving the vaccines it has ordered. Jason Windham said he contacted Representative A.J. McCampbell, who then reached out to the health department. The calls resulted in the requested vaccines being delivered with an additional delivery to provide vaccinations for all teachers in Marengo County.

Items approved by the commission:

· Approved a resolution to allow Chairman Jason Windham to sign for the CDBG funds;

· Commission renewed the contract with Avenu Insights and Analytics for collection of county fees and taxes;

· The Commission approved the Grand Jury report;

· Approved county levies for alcohol licensing, determined by the state;

· Appointed Sharon McKinney-Coates as the District 4 representative on the South Marengo Water and Fire Authority; and,

· Approved the hiring of Tyrell Lewis and Kelvin McGhee to the Road Department and Dexter Watters to the Sheriff’s Department.

The Marengo County Commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m.