Snead road repair agreement, tax abatement for new business highlight May commission meeting

The Blount County Commission approved an agreement with the town of Snead to share equally in the expense of repairing Moore Road, but not without acrimony. The road had been heavily damaged in connection with the construction of a new Dollar General at Moore Road’s junction with U.S. 278, about two miles west of Snead Crossroads.

Moore Road serves as the city limits of Snead and thus is owned half by the town – the part of the road east of the center line – and half by the county. The commission approved the motion to enter into the agreement using countywide funds for the $6,685 county half of the $13, 370 total. Commissioners Dean Calvert and Gary Strickland voted in favor of the agreement, and Commissioner Carthal Self – in whose district the county portion of the road lies – voted against it.

Self had said during discussion in Thursday’s work session that he could not support the project because he lacked funds in his district road budget. Commenting on his continuing opposition to the agreement Monday, he said he is opposed to using countywide funds for such projects. He later told Calvert and Strickland,“ I don’t appreciate your vote to spend taxpayer money when the town of Snead was negligent,” and later stated at the meeting’s end,“We shouldn’t be paying for somebody’s mistakes with taxpayers’ money.” Self later said that Snead had no bond in place that would have required Dollar General’s contractor to absorb the cost of repairs.

Calvert responded:“It will sure be nice to work with someone who wants to move the county forward a few months from now, rather than someone who is totally against anything you try to do to move the county forward.” (Self’s term will end after the November election.)

The commission voted unanimously to extend tax abatements to Power System Sentinel Technologies, an electrical contracting company relocating from Gardendale to a new building to be built at a cost of $1,675,000 on Skyline Drive in western Blount County. It is expected to employ six workers initially and six more within a year at substantial salaries.

The resolution provides for abating all state and local non-educational property taxes for a period of 10 years, and all construction-related transaction taxes, except those levied for educational purposes or for capital improvements for education.

The commission also unanimously authorized the commission chairman to execute contracts totaling $11,440 to initiate preliminary surveying and environment work by CDG Engineering on the River Park Trail bridge renovation project on U. S. 231 north of Cleveland.

In other action, the commission:

approved changing the voting location for Cleveland from the Cleveland Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department station near Cleveland City Hall to the Cleveland Community Center located at 517 Park Road; the city may designate the changes to be effective with upcoming municipal elections in August.

• declared a sales tax holiday for school clothing and supplies during the period beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 5 and ending at midnight on Sunday, August 7. State and county sales and use taxes will be waived during that time.

• voted to authorize the commission chairman to write a letter to the Department of Human Resources (DHR) agreeing to entertain DHR’s request to work with them to explore the cost of building a new facility to house DHR; the county would provide property for the building, but would bear no cost of construction.

• authorized the commission chairman to execute lease renewals for agencies occupying the Family Services Center, Frank Green Building, and Community Services Center.

• named county administrator Zac Marsh as interim Human Resources Director until the commission hires a ful-ltime employee for that position, in order to properly implement the revised and updated employee policies and procedures manual.

awarded Lehe Planning & Consulting the contract for writing the Blount County Natural Disaster Hazard Mitigation Plan at a cost of $21,249.75; to be paid with a grant for that purpose with a 25 percent in-kind services grant match.

• adopted a resolution providing that the Secretary of State of Alabama will pay postage on notifications required by the National Voter Registration Act Voter Notices Postage Payment, and that the county will reimburse the Secretary from funds it is allocated from the state Election Expenses Amount to cover such costs.

Engineering matters

The motion to accept roads in Woodbrook Farms Subdivision as county roads and release the bond held for proper construction failed from want of a second; Calvert explained his reason for not seconding the motion was that photos of the condition of roads in the subdivision had not been provided to him as agreed in Thursday’s work session. County engineer Winston Sitton told the commission he had forgotten to take the photos and apologized for the failure.

The commission approved the county engineer’s recommendations setting speed limits on two county roads: 25 mph for Magnolia Subdivision, District 1, and 15 mph for Tidwell Road, District 1.

County attorney Jeff Sherrer notified the commission he will have subdivision regulations updates for commissioners to review in a few days, and a completed draft document by the June commission meeting. He asked for a special work session with commissioners to review the draft.

Quorum and future meetings

A quorum was present at the meeting, with commission chairman Chris Green and Commissioners Self, Calvert, and Strickland present. Commissioner Allen Armstrong was absent.

The next scheduled work session will be June 9 and the next business meeting will by June 13. Both will be at 9 a.m. in the commission boardroom at the courthouse in Oneonta.