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Commission approves Highway Department changes, standard business
By Christa Jennings
Aside from the discussion regarding GFL’s garbage pickup service as covered in last week’s edition, last Tuesday’s County Commission meeting consisted of multiple matters involving the county’s Highway Department, as well as standard business.
All members were present for the meeting, with District 5’s seat remaining vacant. Vice-Chair Bertha Kelly-McElrath chaired the meeting since former Chair Todd Adams retired.
“Todd will be missed after serving 23 years with the commission, and also Bridget Graham’s last day as county administrator was April 30,” McElrath said at the beginning of the meeting. “The commission appreciates their hard work and time put into the county, but we must move forward with the county business.”
As of press time this week, Gov. Kay Ivey had not yet appointed a commissioner for District 5. County Administrator Amy Gilliland reported that they are “anxiously awaiting that appointment.”
During last Tuesday’s meeting, the commission unanimously approved both the sale and purchase of some equipment for the Highway Department.
Commissioners approved two surplus Mack dump trucks to be sold at JM Wood auction, with those both being 2007 models. Engineer Tad Eason said that the new dump trucks have been ordered, making these surplus trucks available to be sold.
Additionally, commissioners approved the purchase of two new tractors from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s bid through the Alabama County Joint Bidding Program. The two to be purchased are John Deere tractors, model 6120E, from Sun South LLC with a bid price of $53,460.56 each.
Eason said these two would replace the department’s two 2006 model tractors and give them a total of five tractors. These two would be used for pulling the Bush Hog.
Also regarding the Highway Department, the commission unanimously approved Eason’s request for the reclassification for starting employees with the department. During the discussion, Eason explained that the current employee classifications have been in effect since 2005.
The reclassification would provide new salary rates for starting employees. As of press time, Administrator Gilliland said that no beginning date was given regarding the department’s reclassification, and she was waiting on that information.
In other business, with the retirements of former Commissioner Adams and Administrator Graham, the commission unanimously approved standard business, including removing Graham and Adams from the commission’s safety deposit box and all commission accounts, adding Gilliland to the commission’s safety deposit box access, and as a signer on all commission accounts and removing Graham from the commission credit card and adding Gilliland to it.
Additionally, the commission discussed possibly voting on the chairperson position. However, during the discussion, it was suggested that the commission wait until the District 5 vacancy is filled so that they have five members to vote on the matter.
After discussion, the commission unanimously approved tabling the chairperson vote until the June 8 meeting.
The commission also heard from Judge of Probate Richard Dean requesting approval to replace the county’s AutoMark electronic ballot marking machines with new ExpressVote electronic ballot-marking machines.
Dean explained that the total cost to upgrade Coosa County to those new machines is $35,000. He said the county will be required to use all of the funds from the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, fund, which is only $235.57.
However, the Secretary of State’s Office will subsidize $34,764.43 to make the difference in the total purchase price. This means the county will only have to spend the $235 from the HAVA fund, and the machines will be purchased at no other cost to the county.
The commission unanimously approved the request for the ballot machine upgrades.
In other business, the commission unanimously approved:
- Retroactively opening a bank account entitled Coronavirus Rescue Act Fund for funds which will be received from the Coronavirus American Rescue Plan Act 2021.
- An FMLA request for a Sheriff’s Office employee to begin when their time is exhausted, with the employee also able to accept donated leave time.
- An FMLA request for a revenue commissioner’s office employee who needs maternity leave, with the employee also able to accept donated leave time.
- Tabling until the June 8 meeting proceeding with seeking bids for the roof of the Department of Human Resources/Board of Education building.
The commission also discussed and reviewed the county legislative report, including various enactments by Gov. Kay Ivey.
The commission also dismissed into executive session to discuss the Lake Martin Industrial Development Park.
Chad Odom, executive director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, requested the executive session, saying that if the information was made public it could be detrimental. He said the executive session should last approximately 15 minutes.
After 40 minutes, the commission ended the executive session and reconvened in an open session, with no action taken on the matter. Rep. Ed Oliver was in attendance for the meeting and sat through the executive session.
In other business, the commission heard a presentation from Kermit Porch, proposing that Weogufka Creek Bridge, located on County Road 56, be dedicated to his father, L.L. Porch, who was the principal of Weogufka High School from 1951-1959.
Porch added that his father not only served as principal, but that he was also a Mason, Gideon, member of a local church, and that some playground equipment he installed is still there today.
However, with the bridge being in District 5, which is currently vacant, the commission asked Porch to return with his request once the appointment has been made to have a commissioner representing that district.
Also during the meeting, EMA Director Sheldon Hutcherson reported that the county’s grant application for storm shelters had been submitted and that they are waiting for approval.
The next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Coosa County Commission will be held at 9:30 a.m. June 8.