Commission seeks federal funding to repave roads

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Two roads in the county could be getting smoother as the Pike County Commission has requested federal aid to resurface the roads.

The commission Monday approved two requests for patching, leveling, resurfacing and striping portions of county roads 2290 and 2276 near Henderson.

The issue came up in the prior commission meeting when the commission approved a bridge repair on County Road 6618. The plan initially called for the road to be resurfaced in 2018, but the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) will not consider the project until the bridge is finished, effectively pushing the project to 2019.

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In response, commissioners Russell Johnson, District 6, and Chad Copeland, District 4, suggested pushing the project back to 2019 and applying instead to resurface two portions of road that are listed as second and third priority on the county’s list.

The commission unanimously approved the application, which would provide for the resurfacing of 3.6 miles of County Road 2290 from the Coffee County line to County Road 2276 and the resurfacing of 2.6 miles of county roads 2290 and 2276 from County Road 2243 (at Friendship Church) to County Road 2262.

If approved, the project would be completed in 2018.

The commission also approved for $17,000 of emergency fund money to go to replace a road pipe on County Road 7741 that blew during the heavy flooding in the county earlier this month. Jimmy Barron, District 3, said the repair was needed to reopen the road.

The commission took under consideration a change to their healthcare policy that could potentially save the county up to $50,000 a year.

The policy change would no longer allow retired employees from choosing to pay for their insurance through the county program. Only one retired employee currently uses the program, causing rates for all other county employees and their families to go up based on the provider policy.

The retiree using the program has been notified of the potential change.

The county found more cost savings by approving the switch from AT&T to Century Link and Troy Cable for its phone system.

The phone system will come in at approximately $6,000 a month, saving the county $2,000 a month compared to their current bill.

“This is better equipment, more efficient, covers more technology and saves us money.,” said county administrator Harry Sanders. “It can’t really get better than that.”

The county took into consideration the possibility of vacating a portion of County Road 4417 after Lockheed Martin submitted a petition to the commission for the road that runs through the company property.

“Regardless of the type of road, whatever it may be, we have to follow the same protocol,” said Russell Oliver, county engineer. “We first have to look to see if it’s even permissible legally and then whether it fits the criteria.”

County attorney Allen Jones said the process would include a public hearing that must be advertised for 30 days.

“We’re not going to rush into this until I talk to all my constituents that live in the area,” said Homer Wright, District 1.

The commission also approved for two employees at the road department to officially join on full-time.

EMA Director Jeanna Barnes notified the commission that the grant for a weather shelter in Meeksville has been approved and requesting a letter of support for a shelter in Goshen, which the commission agreed to.

Barnes said the manager of the Meeksville shelter project will be back at the next commission meeting to talk about next steps.

The commission unanimously chose to join in on the Alabama bicentennial resolution upon the request of Shelia Jackson, who was representing “ReUnion Troy.”

The commission chose to partner with Fidelity to assist them in compliance with it’s pre-tax benefits program and to start a flexible spending program for employees to use for healthcare purposes, also called a health savings account.

The commission also passed a resolution to initiate a temporary sales tax that will go to fund the construction of a new jail. The tax will begin October 1.

The additional rate will be 1.5 percent across Pike County except within the Troy municipal limits, where the raise will only be 0.5 percent.

The tax is projected to generate approximately $2.5 million a year.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Pike County Commission will be held September 11 upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by a business meeting at 6 p.m. The commission will then move on to a budget hearing directly afterward.

The commission has also called two special meetings, the first to be held at 2 p.m. September 6 at the same location regarding personnel. The next will be held at 3 p.m. September 13 regarding the Pike Area Transit System (PATS) at the same location.

The commission has discussed the possibility of pulling out of the program, which they pay about $100,000 into each year. This will be a public hearing including representation from the cities of Brundidge and Troy, who also partner in the program.