If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
The County Commission held a relatively short meeting Tuesday morning, lasting only about 40 minutes with a handful of items on the agenda.
Commission Chair Randall Dunham was unable to attend the meeting. As such, Vice Chair Bertha K. McElrath oversaw the meeting with all other commissioners present.
Chad Odom, executive director with Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, addressed the commission with a proclamation to recognize Economic Development Week, May 9-13.
Odom provided a brief update and information to commissioners while also mentioning this week being an ideal time to help get the word out about what the alliance does for economic development and how it helps the county.
“The way we can succeed is by continuing to work together,” Odom said. “Thus far we’ve succeeded; we’ve done it by working together and understanding that we all have the same goal and motive in mind and respecting each other in that. Economic Development Week is just a chance for us to put some things out there to help you all communicate with your constituents about what we do so we can get more awareness of our industry.”
The proclamation notes that economic developers promote economic well being and quality of life for their communities “by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.”
It also notes that economic developers “attract and retain high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions.”
In part, the resolution reads, “Now therefore be it resolved, that the Coosa County Commission recognizes the week of May 9 through May 13, 2022, as Economic Development Week, and reminds individuals of the importance of this community celebration which supports expanding career opportunities and making lives better.”
Following Odom’s presentation, the commission unanimously approved and adopted the resolution for Economic Development Week.
The commission also briefly discussed a potential road closure for the dirt road, Weogufka Forest Road, to be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 15.
Sheriff Michael Howell had sent a letter to the commission mentioning that Flagg Mountain has planned an event on June 15 and that Gov. Kay Ivey plans to attend that celebration commemorating the opening of the fire tower atop Flagg Mountain.
He noted that the Forestry Commission is requesting that Weogufka Forest Road remain closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on that date. He added that he felt it was necessary in order to provide as much security to Flagg Mountain as possible during Ivey’s visit to Coosa County.
However, neither Howell nor County Engineer Tad Eason were present for Tuesday’s meeting as they were both attending conferences.
After adding the action item to the agenda, Commissioner Unzell Kelley mentioned making the motion vague so that any plans could be adjusted as needed once they looked into the matter further.
Therefore, after brief discussion, the commission unanimously approved road closures in and around Flagg Mountain in the process for Ivey’s visit to Flagg Mountain on June 15, with those road closures to be coordinated and determined by Eason and the Sheriff’s Office.
In other business, the commission unanimously approved:
- An agreement and adopting a resolution to participate in the joint bidding program through Investing in Alabama Counties, or IAC, as required for any large purchases, specifically relating to American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds.
- Adopting the East Alabama Regional Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Coosa County.
- Setting the bid cut-off time for both the Department of Human Resources’ roof project and the county-wide ambulance for 9:30 a.m. June 14 and the bid opening time for both as 11 a.m. that day.
Also during the meeting County Administrator Amy Gilliland thanked the commissioners for approving the renewal of her contract at the last meeting. She said that she will continue to do the best that she can, further stating that they are trying to get the office as transparent and up to date as they can.
She also reminded everyone the next County Commission meeting date was changed to Thursday, May 26, because of the election on May 24.
Gilliland also noted that regarding the ARPA funds, the commission previously agreed to and approved a fund plan presented by Commissioner Kelley, but that no funds have been disbursed and that no funds are given to a single person or single department. She stated they are “very restrictive funds” and that they are closely monitored.
“We just need to make sure people understand how these federal funds work,” she said. “They are not ‘free for all’ money. It has lots and lots of guidelines and compliance issues. …It’s our opportunity to get things for the county that we would not normally have funds for. So we’re trying to spread it out among the county so that we can help each department in ways that we would not normally be able to.”
She added that if anyone has any questions, she has detailed and updated rules, which she noted has changed multiple times.
“Everything in my office is transparent,” she said.
Gilliland asked that individuals call to schedule an appointment to review information or to see the plan, obligations, or other details relating to the ARPA funds or other County Commission business.
She also mentioned that what the commission has proposed for the ARPA funds has been covered in the newspaper previously.
Commissioner Ronnie Joiner also read an email from an individual with complaints about County Road 459 and asking about restricting commercial traffic on the road. However, Joiner said that they cannot restrict log trucks or logging.
Commissioner Kelley also provided an update on Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 funds relating to the various requirements and details on how those funds can be spent. After providing an update, he stated that he thinks they can move forward with the expenditure of those CDBG COVID-19 funds.
The next County Commission meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26.