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County seeks funding for future

The Lowndes County Commission received updates on road projects during its Aug. 12 meeting and also discussed additional funding for projects that may be available with the implementation of the state’s new fuel tax.

Lowndes County Engineer David Butts updated the Commission and spoke about the funds. Butts told the Commission that the Highway Department currently has 26 employees and that right-of-way cutting was taking place in District 1 and the boom cutter was working in District 2.

“County Road 37 from Fort Deposit to AL-97 has been bid,” he said. “The project came in at $1.7 million, a little higher than what I had speculated. We had estimated about $1.5 million. County Road 32 we will sign paperwork on next month and it will be let in September. After Oct. 1 there is new money that is supposed to come about with the Rebuild Alabama Act, so we’re kind of in limbo.”

Butts explained the process to the Commission.

“Instead of them giving us $533,000 and we have meet their requirements, they will give us $400,000 and we can actually let the projects,” he said. “We’re still discussing and we still don’t know exactly how that’s going to come about.  In doing so, County Road 37 will be affected. We’re moving forward based on the old way. Whenever they let us know what the changes will be, we will adapt tot the changes.”

The project affected will run from AL-97 to U.S. 80 and Butts said the only effect would be in the way it is funded. It won’t affect the timeline.”

Butts told commissioners about the funding from the ATRIP 2 program.

“The maximum you can apply for is $2 million and the road your project is on must border a state highway,” he said. “I’ve got the application to fill out and we can start this week.”

The applications are due by Aug. 31 and Lowndes County must show how they are going to use the money that is requested

“It’s not guaranteed money,” Butts said.

The Commission then voted to allow Butts to apply for funding through the program.

Butts also told the Commission that the road department was continuing to hire employees, though some were seasonal for projects.

The Lowndes County Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in regular session for its second meeting of the month.