Commission approves school sales tax holiday; OKs Airport Road project

Following a long, sometimes intense work session Thursday, the Blount County Commission conducted a short, no-nonsense business meeting Monday, a highlight of which was a unanimous vote authorizing a back-to-school sales tax holiday covering school clothing and supplies Aug. 1-3 this year. The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1, and ends at midnight on Sunday, Aug. 3.

A second significant action was a resolution submitting county road 28 – Airport Road in District 3 – to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) as the next major repaving project for federal funding. The 6.5-mile stretch covers two segments of roadway, separated by a half-mile segment of county road 20, which is not included in the project.

The project is estimated to cost approximately $1.5 million, with work beginning in the 2015-2016 time frame. Airport Road proceeds generally east and west from U.S. 231 east of Oneonta to the Etowah County line south of Altoona.

In other actions, the commission:

•approved a recommendation of the Solid Waste Authority to hire the engineering firm Engineering Associates Inc. of Birmingham to draft an updated Solid Waste Plan at a cost of $13,450, to be charged to fund 104, the transfer station/landfill account. Updating is required every 10 years by the Alabama Department of Environment Management (ADEM); the commission chairman was authorized to execute necessary contracts.

•revisited an earlier action concerning the tinting of 10 windows on the east and south walls of the courthouse, due to an increase in the estimated cost of the project; the initial estimate on the project to reduce the sun’s heating effect on those offices was $7,300, revised upward to $9,100; the commission approved the increase, with $3,500 to be paid out of the commission office account and the remainder to be paid from fund 116, the courthouse capital improvement fund.

•authorized the human resources manager to add a part-time job titled “waste management clerk” to the county job classification system; the position is designated a pay grade 5 job with duties commensurate with the job of revenue clerk and paid at an hourly rate of $9.79 to $10.80, depending on experience.

•authorized letting bids for an extended cab truck for District 4. Report on disaster relief developments

Emergency Management Agency director Don Roybal reported on the status of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief declarations. He said Blount County had been declared eligible for federal individual assistance relief. He encouraged all residents – with or without insurance coverage – to call and report storm damage to FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. He said the final FEMA tally of residences listed 41 houses as destroyed and 45 with major damage.

He said a FEMA declaration of eligibility for public assistance is still possible. That declaration would benefit the county in repair and restoration of roads and other infrastructure, along with funding assistance for debris removal. The criterion of $200,000 in damage to public facilities was met, he said.

District 3 Commissioner Dean Calvert encouraged small business owners who had experienced storm damage to apply for relief available through the Small Business Administration. County road projects update

County engineer Winston Sitton said the guardrail on county road 27 that was damaged by the April 28 storm will be replaced this week and that paving will start within a few days following.

Commission Chairman Chris Green added that work will begin soon on the Maple Drive/Joy Road project to repair damage that occurred during the tornados of April 2011. Quorum and future meetings

All commissioners and the commission chair- man, county attorneys, engineer, and administrator were present at the Monday business meeting. The next commission work session is Thursday, June 5, at 9 a.m. The next commission business meeting is Monday, June 9, at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be in the commission boardroom in the courthouse in Oneonta.