Year in Review: Pike County sees change during 2014

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

For Pike County, 2014 saw improvements to roads, the allowance of draft-beer sales, a new ambulance service contract, energy-saving improvements to county facilities and better cooperation with city government.

Harry Sanders, Pike County Commission Administrator, said the commission had worked hard over the last year to better relations with the City of Troy, and the joint effort to legalize draft beer sales in the city limits helped to greatly improve those since the decision.

“We’re really trying to focus on it,” Sanders said. “Without the people in government, it’s pretty irrelevant. We’re trying to make it more relevant and better our relationships with the city.”

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The decision to allow draft beer was not made easily, but Sanders said it ultimately came down to serving constituents and supporting businesses in Pike County.

“The draft beer stuff wasn’t just the city’s decision,” Sanders said. “That was a cooperation between the county, City of Troy, City of Brundidge and Town of Goshen. That was just allowed to have draft beers sold in the county. I’m sure there are people who look at places and see that it’s been there for a while, or think what’s the point, but you don’t want to hold back local businesses. They need to be able to do their business, and I think that was the gest of the whole thing.”

Pike County Commission also changed the county’s contracted ambulance provider from Care Ambulance to Haynes Ambulance, a decision made in cooperation with Troy and Brundidge officials.

“That leaned heavily upon our first responder folks, which would be our E911, and the first responders such as the fire department and sheriff department,” Sanders said. “Their input was important to try and make the best decision. We did the best we could do. Nothing is going to be perfect. The end result is trying to get the best results for the people you serve and I feel like we were able to do that with this contract.”

The commission also made a point to update county facilities in 2014 as a way to save energy and money.

“It’s been in every county building,” Sanders said. “We’ve done improvement in lighting, air conditioning and other electrical features that will save the county money. The savings will be applied to the equipment that helps make it better. You’ve got a better environment and your savings help to make the payments.”

But the idea was not the commission’s according to Sanders, but instead a courthouse employee.

“Judge Shannon Clark was the driving force behind it all,” Sanders said. “When she first called me about it, what she was trying to fix was that big court room. It’s very difficult to hear in the main courtroom because the sound bounced around. We used to hold commission meetings in that courtroom, but had to move them because of the sound.”

And in 2014, a piece of history was able to start making its way back into the hearts of Pike County Citizens.

“We’ve begun to try to take measures to reclaim the Rock Building,” Sanders said. “Each step is small. Frustratingly so for some folks, I’m sure. I do think we’re making progress on reclaiming that building. The Helms have been incredibly important to that project. David and Sherry are great people, they really are. They’ve done a lot of work to get this done.”

The commission designated funds for the project in its budget, and Sanders said it was the principal of the matter that really came down to it.

“That was kind of in the budget because we had some funds allocated,” Sanders said. “It’s more about the commitment from the commission. It showed our effort to the community and the folks who are working so hard to fix the building.”

And the commission hopes throughout the New Year citizens of Pike County will be able to see more road improvements as Enzor Road and Elm Street Road will be worked on during 2015.

“The problem is there is water on that road that collects when we receive a heavy rainfall,” Sanders said. “There is a beaver creek that has been made, and they’re going to build over that. The road washes out on a regular basis, so we hope we can remedy that.”

The county could also see a fix for the solid waste pick-up in 2015, according to Sanders. The county had previously been using Advanced Disposal Service for the solid-waste pickups, but had received complaints of not having trash picked up along with other issues.

“We’ll discuss more about it at our next commission meeting, but it is something that we are considering,” Sanders said. “We’ve had problems with our solid waste collectors, and they’re not going to renew the contract. The commission has been considering other options for a solid-waste contract.”