Commission votes to launch new courthouse security system




The Blount County Commission voted unanimously Monday to launch a multi-year process of upgrading security arrangements, first for the county courthouse, to be extended in time to all major county buildings.

Changes will be introduced in the near future, beginning with limiting public access access to two doors: the north entrance on the side of the courthouse facing Compass Bank, and the rear side door where the handicapped access ramp is located. The main front entrance will be closed at some point for construction of a new ADA- compliant handicapped ramp and reworked sidewalks in front of the building.

Metal detectors and obstacles will be provided at public entry points, and access control arrangements will be made at other doors to allow employees to enter and leave the building at convenient points. Cost of the initial stages of implementation at the courthouse is in the $40,000 range. Details on the exact timing of changes affecting the public will provided as they become available.

Memos of understanding

The commission unanimously approved two detailed Memos of Understanding (MOU) regarding joint operation among the four districts of two major new pieces of equipment – a pothole patcher and a chip spreader (tar and gravel paving machine) – and their designation as “countywide” equipment, that is, not belonging to any one particular district but to the four districts jointly. In the language of the MOU, its “direct purpose is to establish a formal agreement between the Blount County road commissioners for the operation of and allocated use of purchased countywide equipment, as well as funding for authorized personnel to operate the equipment.”

Also approved unanimously was a motion to establish, advertise, and fill a new job title and grade, called a Countywide Equipment Operator 3/Mechanic, to operate the pothole patcher. The employee will report to the county engineer. According to the MOU on the pothole patcher,“all countywide equipment will be centrally located at the District 4 shop, and will be the responsibility of the county engineer.”

Blount County Health Care Authority appointments

The following appointments were
approved, effective September 2015,
expiring August 2021:
Place 7 – Kevin Ellis
Place 8 – Jerry Jones (re-appointed)
Place 9 – Jim Carr

Cemetery liability agreement

The commission authorized the county attorney to draft a liability agreement to be signed by all cemetery representatives holding the Blount County Commission harmless should damage occur to existing graves or other cemetery property while the county is digging graves; continued digging of graves at no cost is conditional upon cemeteries provided relief from liability.

Wallace Bridge replacement

The commission adopted a resolution to replace the bridge over Mulberry Fork on the Blount County/Cullman County line near Strawberry and authorized the commission chairman to sign necessary documents. The replacement will be handled as part of a three-way agreement between Blount County, Cullman County, and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). Blount County will provide materials through a grant from ALDOT and Cullman County will build the bridge. A service agreement will be required with Cullman County, subject to approval by the Blount County engineer and District 2 commissioner.

Burton chert pit contract

The commission voted to revise the contract between Blount County and Dennis Burton, owner of the Burton chert pit in District 2. Revisions would increase the cost per load of chert paid by the county from $10 to $15. It would also require the owner to provide copies of all pertinent ADEM permits at no cost to the county.

Davis Road vacated

The commission voted to vacate Davis Road and its associated right-of-way, following a public hearing at which no objections were voiced. The road is located in District 2 near Mulberry Fork River in the Gum Springs area.

Removal of insolvent taxes

The commission approved Revenue Commissioner Gregg Armstrong’s request to remove insolvent personal property taxes from the records for years 1995-2001, as recommended by the state examiner.

Quorum and future meetings

All commissioners, the commission chairman, county administrator, county engineer, and two county attorneys were present at the business meeting. The next commission work session will be Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. The next business meeting will be Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. Both will be in the commission boardroom at the courthouse in Oneonta.

Budget meeting schedule:
Aug. 13, 9 a.m.
Aug. 27, 9 a.m.
Sept. 3, 9 a.m.
Sept. 10, 1 p.m. (following work session)
Sept. 14, 9 a.m. (business meeting to
adopt budget)
All budget meetings will be in the commission boardroom.