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County working to secure funding for repair work caused by Hurricane Sally

Pike County Commissioners received an update on bridge repair work that needed to be done near Banks and Brundidge.

A culvert-style crossing was washed out on Pike County Road 6618 in Banks and the bridge on Pike County Road 3316 near Brundidge were damaged during Hurricane Sally in September 2020. Sally was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Ivan in 2004.

Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver said the culvert-style crossing would have to be re-placed and there would possibly have to be pilings replaced on the bridge on CR 3316.

“We’re currently seeking funding to address these problems and get these roads back working,” Oliver said.

He said the project expense for both bridges was about $573,000 with a 15 percent grant match — the county would have to pay about $115,000.

Oliver said there were two options to get the money for the grant match. The first was to use the county’s lodging tax to pay for the expense. County Administrator McKenzie Wilson said the county had set some conditions on using the lodging tax account — mainly keeping the account at a $400,000 minimum to use for emergency expenses. She said the county had to draw money off the fund to pay for cleanup from Hurricane Sally. She said the county would be reimbursed for the expense by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the money had not been received yet.

Oliver estimated that the county’s lodging tax account would be back above $400,000 in the next few months. He said it would take time to get see if the grant applications were approved, then let bids and get repair work underway. During that time, the FEMA reimbursement could also come in.

Oliver said another option would be for the county to use money from its existing road and bridge fund to pay for the grant match.

The commission also heard from Pike County Emergency Management Agency Director Herb Reeves. Reeves said he had talked with the Pike County Volunteer Fire Association about obtaining about 50 new PVE packs and chainsaw training. He also said he was looking into setting up an old equipment trailer as an equipment trailer for emergency response.

Reeves also said several more of the county’s tornado sirens are currently down. Reeves suggested the commission draft  resolution to phase out the remaining tornado sirens and replace the outdated warning system with the RAVE emergency alert system.

Reeves aid the county had 22 sirens and their range was about 1 mile. He said  it would take 178 sirens to fully cover the county. He said the RAVE alert system could reach more people through text message, email and phone than the sirens.

He said about 25 percent of the people in the county are signed up. Receiving the alerts are free. To sign up, go to pikecounty911.org/rave-alert.

Wilson also said the bids had been opened for the county’s new judicial complex. She said TCU Consulting Serves was reviewing the bids and was expected to make a recommendation to the commission in about three weeks.