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County moves forward with senior center electrical service

County moves forward with senior center electrical service
By Christa Jennings/
Senior Staff Reporter


Steps are continuing to be taken to make the renovated Rockford Senior Center a reality, with the County Commission taking another step toward that progress at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Rockford Mayor Scott White attended the commission meeting and said that the senior center has “been a big undertaking since 2017,” but he said it is nearing completion. However, he said they needed the commission’s approval on a matter in order to move forward.

Because the Rockford Senior Center belongs to the county, White presented the commission with information for two cost estimates received regarding electrical work needing to be completed at the new senior center.

The commission heard White’s presentation and reviewed the estimates, considering whether to authorize Eastmont Electric to proceed with electrical service establishment or to bid out establishment of service at the renovated center, located across from the Sheriff’s Office in the former school library.

Eastmont Electric of Montgomery submitted a job estimate of $8,455.38 for the total scope of work. The other estimate was from Nelson Electric Motors of Opelika for a total of $8,083.40.

During discussion, Commissioner Ronnie Joiner mentioned that he felt like the companies were price gouging on some things. Commissioner Randall Dunham agreed and echoed his sentiment, with both mentioning that some things in the estimates should not cost as much as they had listed.

White said that he had checked with some other companies, but added that they have had a hard time getting contractors to come out to review the project and provide a cost estimate. However, he said Eastmont Electric was already on site doing other work for the renovated center.

After some discussion, the commission unanimously approved authorizing Eastmont Electric to proceed with the establishment of electrical service for the center, with the project to be paid from the county’s capital improvement fund.

Concerning other changes to be made with regards to county facilities, Commissioner Joiner discussed with the commission the current handicap parking spaces on the side of the County Courthouse, along Alabama Highway 22.

During discussion, he suggested that there were more handicap spaces than needed and that the county needed more general parking spaces available for the courthouse.

He said there is already one handicap parking space at the County Extension building. He suggested the county leave one handicap parking space alongside the courthouse and make the remainder of them general parking spaces.

During discussion, Joiner said he had already mentioned it to the county’s safety committee and had its approval for the change. He said he would contact the state about changing the parking spaces if approved.

After discussion, the commission unanimously approved going forward with changing all except one of the spaces from handicap parking to general parking.

In other business, the commission heard from Sheriff Michael Howell who notified them of a K-9 narcotic dog which had been donated to the Sheriff’s Office by Hometown Foundation.

In discussion, Howell explained that this would be the first K-9 unit for which the Sheriff’s Office has made a position. He said that he had reached out through all avenues and was able to get a dog donated from Connecticut through this program.

During the meeting he explained that they would be flying out to Connecticut the next day, March 10, to pick up the dog and bring it back to Coosa County. This week they were expected to begin training the dog and its handler.

In further discussion with the commission, Howell explained that the K-9 will be handled by one deputy only and that it would be housed with its handler. He further said that it is about a $10,000 dog being donated to the Sheriff’s Office to use for narcotics.

Also in informational, non-action, business, Howell notified the commission of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Sheriff’s Office enrollment in Central Alabama Crimestoppers. He informed the commission that it is a free program and that it allows an additional way for individuals to make anonymous tips.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved:

  • An ABC license application for off-premises only retail beer and retail table wine for Dollar General in Kellyton.
  • Tearing down and removing the damaged storage shack behind the courthouse.
  • Annual renewal of the current millage rate with no changes.
  • Allowing Brian Smith to perform one week of community service to make repairs in the main courtroom with minimal cost to the county.
  • A budget amendment to move $10,000 from the vehicle repair line to the vehicles/equipment line in order to purchase law enforcement equipment for the new vehicles purchased by the Sheriff’s Office during fiscal year 2021.
  • Allowing the Town of Rockford to contract with the County Commission to authorize the County Highway Department to repair roads in the town with reimbursement to the Highway Department funds for specified needed repairs, with those being paid from the town’s gas tax money.
  • Reappointing Barbara Whetstone to the Department of Human Resources’ Board retroactive to September 1, 2020.

The commission also discussed reopening the courthouse without appointments or screenings when Gov. Kay Ivey’s current “Safer at Home” emergency declaration expires. After some discussion, the commission agreed to revisit the matter at its next meeting.

Also during the meeting, the commission heard form Laddie Liveoak regarding a request for the county to take on and maintain the road to the Rehobeth Indian Cemetery, formerly the Jennings Cemetery, and from James Rainwater regarding safety concerns on County Road 12.

Action was not taken at the time on either of the public comment agenda items.

The commission will hold a special called meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the Commission Courtroom for discussion of the Lake Martin Economic Development Park. The next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the County Commission will be held at 9:30 a.m. April 13.

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