• 82°

Debris removal ongoing in county

Debris removal from the April storms continues in Pike County.

County Engineer Russell Oliver said contracts worked in the county for three days last week.

“When they left the first time, they were working on County Road 3316 and 3314,” Oliver told commissioners on Monday. “As you know, those are two of the hardest hit roads. When the contractor came back last week, they finished up those to roads first.

“The contractor will be back (Tuesday) with a third truck and continue the cleanup this week.”

Commissioners have authorized a total of $200,000 to be spent with a third-party contractor to remove roadside debris and vegetation left after storms of 90+ mph winds ripped through most of the county in April.

The contractor worked for eight days in May, exhausting the first $100,000 allocation for removal before commissioners authorized a second allocation.

“They have used about $25,000 of that (second) allocation,” Oliver said.

County officials remain optimistic that a FEMA emergency declaration will be granted, making the county eligible to receive reimbursement for 75 percent of the cleanup expenses.

Herb Reeves, EMA director, has said previously that the state met the $7.5 million damage threshold needed for the declaration.

McKenzie Wilson, county administrator, said Monday that all information has been submitted to Alabama EMA officials and Reeves will continue to follow-up on the status of the application request, which must be sent to Washington, D.C. for final approval.

In other business at their meeting on Monday, commissioners:

• Approved personnel items for the county road department.

• Heard an initial request from residents about vacating a portion of CR 3341. Attorney Allen Jones said his office is reviewing the request and will be prepared to make a recommendation on proceeding at the June 22 meeting. “These follow the same procedure. You will have to have a public hearing, advertising for four weeks before the meeting, and after that meeting you can vote on the request,” he said.

• Approved a post issuance compliance procedure for tax exempt obligations, which is necessary as part of the recent warrant issue for funding.

• Accepted the award of $58,000 in BJA FY20 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding.

Wilson said the grant, which is awarded to the sheriff’s department, will reimburse the department for expenditures already made in compliance with the program.

• Heard an update from Jeremy Lowery of the Alabama Forestry Commission about the joint purchase of a truck for Pike County and the interview process for hiring a new forester for the county.

• Heard an update from Wilson about the clock at the Pike County Courthouse, which is not functioning. “We know it’s not working and we’re trying to get that fixed,” she said, adding that repairs may require the replacement of mechanisms for the iconic clock.