County opts for more local power

Published 10:14 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

The Pike County Commissioners won’t make it in time for the June 1 election, but they are hoping come November they’ll have a little more say on some issues.

Issues like noise violations, illegal dumping and weed nuisances are some of what the commission hopes to have a voice in, if all goes as planned. The commission discussed implementing the Self Governance Initiative, a plan that would give the county a limited home rule on making decisions involving those types of issues.

For example, as it stands now, the county doesn’t have the rights to impose noise ordinances, but if voters give the commission the OK come November it could make a dent.

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The limited governance initiative was a law passed already by the Legislature in 2005, but it has to be enacted locally at the local level.

“The option of putting a referendum on the June ballot is not achievable,” said County Administrator Harry Sanders. But, Sanders said since the commission approved the resolution Monday, there would be time come November.

Prior to the meeting, a group of local residents working to implement a Boys and Girls Club in Pike County met the commission asking for its support.

“We wanted to make sure all of you were aware of what we do as we try to enhance this community in our county,” said Scherryl Harrison, a member of the focus group.

Harrison, also an assistant district attorney for Pike County, said the program would greatly benefit in keeping children out of trouble.

“Children usually get in trouble from the time they get out of school until 6 or 7 when their parents get home,” she said. “A Boys and Girls Club would fill in that gap.” That in turn, she said, would reduce costs such as detention and event jail.

Harrison told the commission the group wasn’t asking for financial support just yet but just looking for support.

Commissioners didn’t take any votes of support, but the commissioners individually seemed to be on board with the project.

“I appreciate you guys coming…and I think it will be great for Pike County,” said Commission Chairman Jimmy Barron.

Also in the meeting, the commission went into executive decision to review applications for a vacant Pike County Emergency Management Agency director role, now filled by Larry Davis, who will retire Tuesday. When it returned, the commission voted to give Jeanna Barnes the role.

Barnes has been working in a volunteer role with EMA since 2007 and was recently given a part time position just in the last month. She will take over starting next week, as Davis steps down.

Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver came before the commission Monday in hopes of finding funding for several local road projects.

The commission approved applications for several road and bridge repairs, which will now await approval at the federal and state levels.