Commission routine items feature many appointments

Appointments to four agencies were an important part of county commission business for its first meeting of 2009.

Reappointed were the following five members to one-year terms on the Solid Waste Authority board of directors: representing District 1, Carter Brand; District 2, Tommy Chambers; District 3, Jimmy Buckner; District 4, Bob Shows; at large, Wendell Ellis.

The commission approved the appointment of Meleah Davis to a six-year term as a director on the Jefferson-Blount-St. Clair Mental Health Board. Davis is the senior probation officer in the Blount County juvenile probation office.

Also approved were the appointments of five members for five-year terms on the Pine Mountain Volunteer Fire and Rescue board of directors. They are: Garret Cadden, Anne Armstrong, Dewey H. Lewis (Sr.), Jeff Hallmark, and Gene Horsley.

The appointment of Charles D. Wallace to a six-year term on the Joppa/Hulaco Water Authority board was approved, retroactive to March 2005. The term expires in March 2011. The water authority serves an area in northwest Blount County.

In other actions, the commission:

•proclaimed Jan. 19, 2009, as a day of celebration in honor of Robert E. Lee.

•approved bid invitations for five or six patrol cars for the sheriff’s department.

•approved bid invitations for peripheral equipment for sheriff’s patrol cars such as sirens, radios, light bars, striping and security panels.

•approved a prisoner reporting agreement between the Blount County Jail and the Social Security Administration; having the agreement in place allows the county to collect a one-time fee of $200 or $400 per inmate; it also enables the Social Security to suspend paying benefits to prisoners during the time they are incarcerated.

•approved Family Member Leave of Absence for county employee William Evans to care for his father.

•approved Family Member Leave of Absence for county employee Shirley Bates who will be having surgery soon.

•authorized the county administrator to prepare a proposal for the sale of the Freedom Ranch property currently occupied and operated by Alabama Youth Homes as a facility for troubled youth; selling the parcels proposed at auction to be handled by the county commission was been discussed at the earlier work session.

• voted to table discussion of transferring the Dynapac Compactor now owned in common by the four commission districts to District 4 in exchange for a payment of $15,000 to be divided equally by the other three districts, contingent upon repair by the county shop of the hood, seat, and instrument panel; payment would be made by two payments of $2500 each to the three districts, one payment in 2009 and one in 2010.

•approved District 4 request to pay out of countywide funds about $8000 for I-beams to replace bridge on Dry Creek Road.

•approved District 2 request to use countywide funds to pay part of cost of replacing Vaughn Road Bridge damaged by recent flooding; according to agreement reached, cost of Ibeams will be paid out of District 2 funds, and the remainder will be paid out of countywide funds; total cost of bridge replacement is $38,000 for contract labor plus the costs of Ibeams; the project was declared an emergency due to the amount of traffic that uses the bridge.

•approved a three-year agreement with the Alabama County Commission Association for Blount County’s participation in the ACCA liability insurance fund.

Correcting historical error

The commission also approved two resolutions correcting the minutes of two county commission meetings, one for the minutes dated Aug. 12, 1991, and one for the minutes dated May 11, 1998. The first minutes were fixed to correct omission of a line of copy when the Aug. 12, 1991, minutes were transcribed. The original resolution containing the complete wording was used as the source document.

The second set of minutes, May 11, 1998, did not contain sufficient detail to properly describe the action taken. Correspondence from the probate judge to the revenue commission was used to document the intent of the action and correct the minutes.

Both matters concerned first the imposition (1991) then the rescinding (1998) of a 1/2 percent local sales tax. Neither record resulted in an error in sales tax collection, but was corrected merely to assure accurate and complete official documentation. Neither is currently applicable to any sales tax in effect in the county.

Nix the regular truck; get a big’un

As a result of a request from the forestry commission, the county commission rescinded its earlier approval to purchase a standard pickup truck for the county unit of the state forestry commission, and approved requesting bids for a crew-cab truck instead. The unit said it needs a bigger truck so several county forestry workers can commute to regional meetings in surrounding counties. The commission also approved a reversionary agreement between it and the forestry commission so any vehicle purchased will be returned to the county when retired.

Engineering matters

At county engineer Richard Spraggins’ recommendation, the commission:

•approved an agreement with Gallet & Associates for geotechnical investigation of the sinkhole on county road 1, at a cost of $7475; a dozen holes will be drilled to map subsurface topography in order to determine how to stabilize the road before paving; the county will build a road to provide access to the slope below the road to provide access to the engineering firm.

•approved spending $22,000 to upgrade design for River Road Bridge in District 3 off county road 27; contingent upon approval of president-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package – which would provide 100 percent reimbursement for such infrastructure projects.

•approved extending until February 2009 the probationary period for county shop employee Justin Copeland.

•approved agreement with local landowners and Alabama Department of Environmental Management in connection with meeting the agency’s requirements for reclaiming the Ingram Chert Pit.

•approved agreement with Tansystems engineering firm for the structural analysis of the three county covered bridges at a cost of $134,615; the analysis is required to qualify for funding to go forward with renovation and repair of the bridges.

The next county commission work session is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5, at 9 a.m. The next business meeting is set for Monday, Feb. 9, at 9 a.m.