Road project delays and extensions dominate commission meeting

Published 2:03 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal
Road projects, street signs and revenue for roadwork dominated Tuesday’s Lowndes County Commission meeting.
The federal aid road resurfacing project on County Road 23 in White Hall is being delayed due to railroad issues, and the County Road 79 federal aid road resurfacing project will actually extend into Butler County, according to Lowndes County Engineer David Butts.
He announced the delay on 23 and the need to extend 79.
County Commissioner Robert Harris said the County Road 23 project was initially expected to cost $500,000, but will now exceed $1 million in cost.
Butts said regarding County Road 23, railroad crossing will have to be brought up to today’s standards and an agreement must be signed with M & B railroad.
County Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas said, however, that by November the county should have the necessary increased matching funds for the project.
The commission voted to allow Butts to move forward with the paperwork necessary for the County Road 23 project.
Butts also reported that about 700 feet of County Road 79 is actually out of Lowndes County and runs into Butler County. He said that would add about $20,000 to $30,00 to the cost of the project.
Butts said he will try to negotiate with Butler County to see if they will participate in the project. He said, “I would actually like to do is finish the project.” He said it would be bad to come to an unpaved section of the road.
The commission voted to give Butts permission to extend the project.
Butts also said plans for Rural Assistance Matching Program  road resurfacing projects on County Roads 33 and 45 (Blue Hill Road) have been submitted.
He said he is in the process of surveying County Road 26. However, he said, he is holding County Road 37 for last in the event funds run out.
Butts said the county should receive between $100,000 and $118,000 reimbursement  from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for work done to repair flooded roads.
He also reported that weather sirens have been ordered.
Commissioners Harris and Brenson Crenshaw reported that road signs being taken in their districts, and Butts said Lowndesboro was having the same problem.
Butts suggested that the public should report anyone taking the signs “because that is the only way an ambulance is going to be able to find you, is the street sign.” He said five to 10 minutes could make the difference between life and death.
County Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas reported that fingerprint security for courthouse department heads is set to go online Monday.
With regard to revenue for roadwork, Harris reported that an additional 5 mills ad valorem tax would cost the average landowner about $12 per year, but would bring in about $2 million. He said the additional funds could be used to do projects to make the county’s roads safer.
He said it would have to be done through local legislative act, but said he was just tossing it out for informational purposes at this time.
Under the consent agenda, the commission approved appropriations in the amount of $300 to Unity Day Care Center, $500 to Lowndes County Middle School, $400 to Keepers of The Brotherhood for a Lowndes County Amateur Baseball League, $250 to the Lowndes County Board of Education, $800 to the Lowndes County Community Life Center.
The commission also approved an update to procurement procedures for Community Development Block Brant Projects and approved Chief Deputy Chris West as the point of contact for the county’s Homeland Security.
The commission also voted that funds from an estate that came to the county after six years, which could have been kept by the county, be returned to the children who should have received it in the amount of $18,414.75.
The commission received a letter of appreciation for its support of student from Central High School and a plaque in appreciation from the STEP Program.
Kelvin F. Lawrence introduced the commission to Ark of Love’s new minister Anthony Satterwhite.
The Ark of Love teaches basic life and work skills to the mentally challenged.

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