The formal letter requesting executive session and declaring the general subjects to be discussed sounded innocuous enough – economic development and pending or eminent litigation. But when the commission returned an hour later, three significant actions resulted, which more or less highlighted an otherwise routine monthly business meeting. The three motions, expeditiously made and passed just before adjournment, included:
(1) a motion authorizing the commission chairman to purchase an option on four parcels of land in District 2, not to exceed $5,000, for possible economic development, with such transaction to be brought back to the commission for final decision and approval before any further action beyond purchase of the option is taken.
(2) a motion authorizing the commission chairman to reply in writing to a letter concerning courthouse air conditioning, recently received by the commission from Circuit Judge Steven King.
(3) a motion authorizing District 1 Commissioner Mike Painter, designated as overseeing commissioner for the county jail work release building addition in progress, to continue site preparation work to construct a second pad for a possible future building addition should it be needed later – in addition to the site work and pad construction for the initial building itself.
All three motions were unanimously approved.
In other actions, the commission:
• approved purchase of a Sun Charge Systems-designed solar lighting system consisting of eight tubular poles, each with an outdoor light fixture and solar panel to power it at a cost estimated at $13,600, to be used to light the approach at night to the King’s Bend Scenic Overlook.
• adopted Resolution 2019-10-1 to support the 2020 U. S. Census by taking steps to assure that every Blount County resident is counted.
• approved the County Information Management System (CIMS) 2020 license agreement with Diversified Computer Services for $650 monthly and authorized the chairman to execute it.
• approved billing the Oneonta City Schools Board of Education for reimbursement for the cost of stone used in excavation work done by District 3 in building a new school baseball field.
• approved installing Christmas lights to outline the courthouse at an estimated cost of $600 in connection with an Oneonta Business Association request; discussed possibility of including the Blount County Schools Board of Education building, at an additional cost of about $200, since it is owned by the Blount County Commission.
• approved allowing the chairman to execute a contract with the sole source provider of locks for Family Service Center doors, provided cost and other details meet parameters of the grantmaker, the Department of Homeland Security, and contingent on concurrence of county attorney and buildings manager.
• awarded the bid for large sandstone to Tremendous Stone.
• approved initiating the engineering process to vacate a Blount County portion of Mountain Street North, Pinson, and set a date for a public hearing at the commission business meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
• re-appointed Don Crowder to the Pine Mountain Water Authority, with a six-year term expiring in March, 2025.
• re-appointed Jeffrey McDonald to the Pine Bluff Water Authority, with a six-year term expiring in April, 2025.
• voted to declare surplus a District 1 Ford Ranger truck and authorized its sale by the best legal means.
County engineer Dustin Stewart reported on three engineering matters:
• the $10 million Rebuild Alabama Act grant program guidelines: cities and counties can apply for funds to complete a road or bridge project up to $250,000; the program is administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and applications are due by Nov. 1.
• Blount County’s application for the $10 million program for a turn lane construction project off Ala 75 onto Lemley Drive in Oneonta, in connection with the new Department of Human Resources building, was not among those selected to receive a grant. Subject to commission approval, it will probably be resubmitted under the $30 million Rebuild Alabama ATRIP II transportation infrastructure program.
• the project for striping and guardrails on County Roads, 34, 35, and 36 is in progress and expected to be complete by early November this year.
Quorum and future meetings
All four Blount County commissioners were present at the business meeting along with the commission chairman.
The next commission work session will be Thursday, Nov. 7.
The next commission business meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Announcement: Jones Chapel Road bridge will be closed to traffic all day on Oct. 22 for construction work. Heads up! The bridge is not merely being closed – the road surface across the bridge is being temporarily removed on Oct. 22.