County Commission takes action against winter weather

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 27, 2014

The Pike County Commission began its biweekly meeting by honoring Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas for being elected as president of the Alabama Peace Officers’ Association.

Thomas said he was honored by his election. “I’m the sixth sheriff to have served as president of the Peace Officers’ Association and the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association,” Thomas said. “It is an honor that I was nominated and elected. The Peace Officers’ Association is made up of county, city, state and federal law enforcement officials.”

Thomas said his election reflects on the strength of the entire Pike County community. “I don’t just represent the Sheriff’s Department,” Thomas said. “I represent you as well. I’m allowed to go and serve in this capacity because, as a whole, Pike County has a good reputation across our state. I appreciate everything the commission does for us, and I want to thank the commission for everything they do.”

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Most of the rest of the commission’s meeting focused on dealing with the winter weather bearing down on the area in the coming days.

Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver said his road department would be ready to deal with any icy roadways. “Our plan is to have every piece of equipment available to us ready to go to deal with the weather,” Oliver said. “We should have at least eight pieces of equipment ready by tomorrow to deal with any accumulation we might have. We found the driest sand we could, and we’re ready to sand any bridge decks or roadways that might freeze over.”

Oliver said the best thing his department could do, given the uncertain severity of the winter storm, is to play the situation by ear. “We’ve learned in the past from tornadoes and hurricanes is that it is sometimes best to wait until after the actual storm has passed,” Oliver said. “At night, there might be electrical lines down that our guys can’t see, and, if we head out early, we may not catch the end of the precipitation. It’s my recommendation that we close all the roads in the county as we have done in the past.”

The commission ultimately decided to close all roads, effective at 12 a.m. Tuesday until further notice. Unless absolutely necessary, the roads in Pike County should not be driven on at this time. The commission also decided to close Pike County all facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a single Social Security exemption.

• Approved a resolution that would allow for Chairman Homer Wright to sign a Declaration of Emergency should the winter weather exceed the county’s emergency capabilities.

• Approved for the Probate Judge to begin advertising for the position of tag clerk

• Denied a recommendation by the Probate Judge to adjust compensation for department employees.

• Approved a payment of $48,521.50 for a new rescue truck for the Troy Fire Department with the contingency that the commission have input in to the fate of the truck after the truck has been retired from service by the Troy Fire Department.