County puts issue to vote

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In March, voters in rural areas of Pike County will have a new referendum to consider.

During the primary election, the ballot for residents outside city limits will include the question of whether or not the county commission should be able to establish programs to address “health and safety” issues locally.

Currently those decisions are made at the state level.

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“It’s mirroring what municipalities can do already, in some respects,” said County Administrator Harry Sanders.

The option is available to voters because of legislation passed in 2005 called the “Alabama Limited Self-Governance Act.”

If the referendum passes, the county will be able to address issues such as junkyards, litter, pollution and noise violations.

“It definitely does not cover taxing and zoning issues,” Sanders said. “Those are two of the big things that people worry about.”

The act has specific details on the powers the county commission will be able to exercise. Voters can read about the act behind the referendum at

Sanders said the commission had decided to wait to bring the issue to a vote until they watched to see how it worked in other counties.

“We didn’t want to be the guinea pig to start with,” Sanders said.

Sanders said people have questioned the need for the commission to possess more local power, but the positive thing for voters is, they will ultimately have the say as to whether “health and safety” powers are given to the commission.

“The ultimate thing is, the people will decide,” Sanders said. “ ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ should be left to the people.”