County Commission considers Sheriff’s building, USDA grants

Published 8:12 am Sunday, November 19, 2023

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The Lowndes County Commission held its first November meeting on Monday and discussed a few hot topic items.

First to appear before the commissioners was Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West who addressed the building in which the Sheriff Department’s Investigations Division is housed.

“That building, as you know, ServPro came out to do an assessment and to clean it up,” West said. “There was a lot of mold in there and ServPro told us that it was just too much and it really needed to be condemned because of the bacteria.”

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West said quotes have been gathered for a new building and requested permission to pursue bids to move the project along.

Commissioner Charlie King Jr. gave a counter proposal which would possibly move the department into an existing building in Hayneville, however no final decision was made.

The Haynes Ambulance Service director was scheduled to discuss a lack of emergency response in Lowndes County, however the director did not appear for the meeting. 

Commissioners heard from Deborah Stewart, chief executive officer and founder of Avalon Consulting Services, who discussed redevelopment within the county including the addition of new businesses in the community.

Commissioner Joey Barganier questioned whether there would be any grant funding for individuals who are interested in starting a new business, which Stewart further explained.

“The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does have funding for individual businesses supported by the local government so those funds are definitely available for individual businesses,” Stewart said. “Let’s say that the county purchased that strip of businesses that’s on the corner of (Alabama Highways) 97 and 21, if that were to be purchased and redeveloped and a business wanted to go in there, USDA can fund that business through a partnership through the county.”

In this case, Stewart said the individual interested in opening a business would need to reach out to the county to let them know they wanted to open the business. The county would then work with the USDA to apply for funding not only to acquire the building, but also to renovate it and set it out for the business.

The Lowndes County Commission will meet again on Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.