Officials offer updates

Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 12, 2017

Government leaders from around Pike County spoke at the “Legislative Breakfast” on Wednesday hosted by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Isabell Boyd of Brundidge, Mayor Darren Jordan of Goshen, Chairman Robin Sullivan of the Pike County Commission and Troy Councilman Marcus Paramore all spoke about the state of their respective communities at the meeting.

Mayor Lisa Culpepper of Banks did not attend as planned and Paramore filled in for Mayor Jason Reeves, who had a nephew born yesterday morning and could not attend.

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Approximately 80 people attended the event according to Chamber president Kathy Sauer.

Boyd spoke about taking over the role of mayor after longtime mayor Jimmy Ramage and reminded constituents of some of the things that happened over the past year in Brundidge.

“After 40 years of very good leadership under Jimmy Ramage, I’m proud to serve as the mayor of Brundidge,” Boyd said. “We’re continuing to grow. We just completed our yearly audit and there were no problems. We’re blessed to have Walmart Distribution Center, Supreme Oil and Southern Classic Foods.

“We resurfaced several streets in the past year and had sidewalks put in as well. Our schools are state of the art and at Pike County High School, students can earn an associate’s degree while in high school.“

Boyd also gave residents an idea of a few things to come and what she and the council are currently working on.

“We will soon have the Magnolia vegetable processing plant under the leadership of Southern Classic Foods,” Boyd said. “We’ll also continue to work closely with the Industrial Board, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, the Brundidge Business Association, the Pike County Commission and state representatives to recruit new business to Brundidge. We are also looking to have a complete overhaul on the nutrition center.”

Boyd also praised city employees and council and  thanked the chamber of commerce for working with the city.

Sullivan spoke mainly on the Pike County Commission being able to take funding account from the negative to the positive.

“At the beginning of the year our fund balances were negative,” Sullivan said. “By working with the city and county school boards, we were able to share an existing sales tax and we’ve been fooling with that. Now, at the end of the fiscal year, we had $775,000 in our general fund balance.

“At the beginning of the year, the road department had a fund balance of -$230,000 and it’s now at $557,000.”

Sullivan also talked about what the commission is doing to consider saving even more money in the road department.

“We’re talking about where else we can make cuts,” Sullivan said. “We’ve already cut 41 jobs down to 25 and we used to have six motor-graders and now we have three. We’re going to look at lowering the number of vehicles but still having enough to get the job done.

“Right now we have 18 pickup [trucks] at the road department and only three are new. We’re getting all we can out of them. They have an average of 202,000 miles on them.”

Paramore spoke about the recent developments for Troy and a few of the upcoming things on the docket for the city.

“We have Publix opening up with the ribbon-cutting on January 21,” Paramore said. “That development and those roads opened up a whole section of town that was originally undeveloped. It was nice to see that come to fruition.

“We’re looking for future development now as we continue to expand. We also plan to open up our third fire station and the Pike Animal Shelter within the month.”

Paramore also talked about how the city owning its own utilities keeps the city’s rates among the lowest in the state.

Paramore praised the city’s employees and council members as fine people who are always looking to do their best for the city. He also thanked the chamber of commerce, the Pike County Economic Development Corporation, the Pike County Commission and neighboring towns and communities for helping in the recruitment of businesses and industries.

“It was a pleasure to work with the chamber of commerce and our economic development center as well as the Pike County commission and neighboring towns to make sure that Troy creates a positive work environment to bring more economic development and jobs into Troy,” Paramore said.

Jordan talked about some recent successes for the town of Goshen. “For two consecutive years we’ve received grants through ADECA totaling close to $0.5 million overall,” Jordan said. “The first grant was to completely rework our existing water tower and our second grant was to replace old and obsolete meters, replacing them with radio-read meters that can be read from computer.

“Doing that has lead to an increase in revenue for the town and cut our water loss down by 10 percent just with the placement of these meters.  It’s been more efficient for us, which in turn is meaning new revenue for the water dept.

“Also with the last grant, the town was able to provide a small subsidy alongside the grant and invest in a generator for our well in the case of natural disaster down power lines or something along those lines.”

Jordan also outlined some short-term and long-term goals for the town.

“One of our short-term goals is doing some road repairs and I’ve been able to talk with Russell Johnson as well as the county commission about all of us sitting down and looking at a cost and what it would take to fix it and where responsibility falls on some roads,” Jordan said. “Some drains under our roads are deteriorating and we want to be proactive about it and not reactive. Two of the streets involved affect our truck routes in out of Goshen.

“As far as long-term goals, several residents have asked about getting a Family Dollar or Dollar General,” Jordan said. “It’s definitely something we want to look at possibly finding a way to facilitate that.

“Several in the community also a expressed desire in looking into contacting South Alabama Gas District and getting natural gas to run to Goshen as well. That’s still far in the future, but that’s some stuff I wanted to touch on.”

Boyd, Paramore and Jordan all gave updates on the budget that their city or town is working with  for the year. Troy is working with a $71 million budget, Brundidge is operating on a $12 million budget and Goshen has a budget of $200,000.