Concerns voiced at meeting

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pike County commissioners continued Monday to make headway on a solid waste contract decision.

A representative of Arrow Disposal spoke with commissioners during their meeting on Monday, seeking input on the contract expectations and sharing concerns about the county’s mandatory use and Social Security exemptions. The company estimates 2,500 customers in Pike County would qualify for the solid waste collection service, but as many as 400 would be exempt from paying fees because of Social Security exemptions. The company is seeking exact figures, as representatives said the ratio of exempt customers would affect fees charged to remaining customers.

McKenzie Wilson, Pike County’s personnel and safety director, said the county had taken steps to address the concerns. “There have been some provisions made along the way,” Wilson said, explaining the franchise fee paid by the commission offsets the cost of collection for the exempt customers.

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Bids for solid waste collect are due on Thursday, as the current Advance Disposal contract ends March 31.

Also after deferring their decision earlier this month, county commissioners on Monday approved the request for a Lounge Retail Liquor-Class 1 license from Ice House Bar and Grill. District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Barron said the restaurant is in district, and after doing further investigation felt no need to deny the request.

“Nobody has come to me with any problem with it,” Barron said. “I haven’t received any phone calls against it. Its been advertised in the paper, but nobody has come forward at a meeting and I haven’t received anything.”

Also, County Engineer Russell Oliver requested the commissioners deem three items of equipment as surplus, including a flatbed truck to sell at auction in early March. Oliver also asked commissioners to consider two personnel requests, which were denied.

Oliver had sought to extend a part-time employee’s time and to hire another temporary employee. Barron said he would feel more comfortable making a decision after the surplus equipment sold at auction in March.

“I’d like to see about this equipment sale, first,” Barron said. “I know that we’re gong to be waiting on this for a few months.”

And, even though the engineering department has saved some money with lower gas prices, Oliver said after doing some investigating, the chance to buy equipment over the next few years would be slim. “As far as we can tell, there isn’t going to be anymore money for equipment other than this over the next couple of years,” Oliver said. “But, I think the first step is to surplus this equipment.”

District 6 Commissioner Joey Jackson said he had received thanks from the Locklar family for the work the commission had done to honor Rex Locklar, a noted bluegrass enthusiast.

“The Locklar family wanted to thank the commission for naming the road Rex Locklar Memorial Highway,” Jackson said. “The second weekend of April, they will be having a bluegrass festival in Henderson. They would like for all of us to come.”

Jackson also discussed the status of the Rex Locklar Memorial Highway signs.

“We don’t know when they’ll be here, but they want to try and have them up for that weekend,” Jackson said. “We can have an unveiling and meeting with the Bluegrass Associations the Locklar family.”

During the meeting, Commission Administrator Harry Sanders congratulated commissioners on being rewarded by ACCA, or Association of County Commissioners of Alabama, for their increased safety efforts.

“We received an email today from ACCA saying that Pike County had been successful in its public safety initiatives,” Sanders said. “We received a discount for the safety program in Pike County this year. I believe there was quite a bit over the state that earned the savings.”

The commission voted to move the regularly scheduled meeting and work session to 4 p.m. Feb. 9 instead of at 5:15 p.m.