County makes move for more authority

Published 10:40 pm Monday, May 10, 2010

The Pike County Commission has little authority when it comes to making laws. A move it made Monday could soon change that.

As part of an act passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2005, the bill would give Pike County’s voters a chance to decide whether it wants the commission to have the authority to enact certain laws. The laws that would be allowed under the Alabama Limited Self-Governance Act would give the commission authority to make decisions locally involving illegal dumping, weeds, animal control, junkyards, noise and sewage issues.

Now in order to make new laws with these issues, such as enacting a county noise ordinance, the commission would have to send a bill to the Legislature to meet its approval and then place the issue on a ballot.

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The commission would not be given the authority to raise taxes or make zoning decisions, simply handle those limited issues.

“This is not anything that would be controversial. It wouldn’t raise taxes,” said District 6 Commissioner Oren Fannin, just before the commission made its vote of approval.

The county administrator Harry Sanders and attorney Allen Jones will work to get a resolution drafted in hopes of making it to the November ballot.

The act has been implemented in 18 other counties in the state.

Also in the meeting, the commission OK’d spending the remainder of money that has been set aside for the county coroner’s pay this year. This comes after the Alabama Legislature gave the county approval to set the coroner’s pay rate, increasing Coroner Jerry Williams’ salary from his now $33.33 per month.

Before the bill was passed, the commission approved to up his expense account to $14,000 for he remainder of the budget year. The vote Monday was to spend that amount and then to consider the next salary move come Oct. 1.

“I’d like to ask we go ahead and pass this so this man can start making a little bit of money instead of spending,” said District 2 Commissioner Robin Sullivan.

The commission gave the OK for the Pike County Road Department to advertise for a temporary part time mechanic. County Engineer Russell Oliver said the department had one mechanic retire and two others out for an indefinite period of time.

It also approved to advertise for a part time position in the EMA office and to advertise in house to fill the EMA director position, which will be vacant after Larry Davis retires in June.

Prior to its meeting, the commission was addressed by David Lampley, with Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.

Lampley was seeking support in applying for an ADECA grant that would help renovate the road. The commission agreed to look into assisting the church for the grant but would not legally be allowed to help with renovations on private church property. For a look at the discussion, see the video attached.