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County nearing completion of shelter plan

The Chilton County Commission on Monday approved a bid of $69,990 by Aqua Marine for the construction of an emergency shelter adjacent to Union Grove Fire and Rescue.

The county has received a grant for 75 percent of the cost, and Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum recommended the county contribute its 25 percent in the form of groundwork preparation at the site.

The proposed shelter would be identical to the one recently constructed in Maplesville, Collum said, and is part of a plan to make shelters accessible within a 10-minute drive of every county resident.

Collum said the last planned shelter, at East Chilton Fire and Rescue, is in danger of not coming to fruition before the passing of a deadline attached to the grant that would help pay for the project.

Collum said he has been unable to contact East Chilton officials about the shelter. Preliminary plans called for the shelter to be built underground, with a new fire department building constructed on top.

“This has to be done in a certain timeframe,” Collum said.

Collum also presented the commission a bid, which was accepted unanimously, of $27,459 by Ernest McCarty Ford for a new EMA truck.

The commission scheduled a work session for 6 p.m. on May 17 to discuss what to do with the old EMA truck and the possibility of constructing a judicial building.

Investment advisor Walter Lewis reported to the commission about the amount of debt it could possibly take on for a new court structure.

Based on an annual debt of $320,000, which Lewis said was about average for the county, Lewis said the county could afford a $4.7 million building over the course of 30 years.

Lewis recommended increasing court fees to help pay for the judicial building and will continue to work with the commission on the project.

In other business, the commission:

Granted Information Systems Director Matt Taylor permission to purchase a new server and appropriate software, which Taylor said would cost about $9,200.

Taylor said the warranty has expired on one of the county’s 10 servers and that he wanted to prevent problems that could take days to fix–and would make it impossible for workers to do their jobs in the meantime.

“That’s part of my job: not just to fix things but to head things off when I see things coming,” Taylor said.

Commissioner Allen Caton voted against the measure because he said other local merchants did not have a chance to bid on the software, which is being provided by a business that Taylor owns.

“I feel like we should get prices, more than one, on anything we do,” Caton said.

Discussed the closing of County Road 73 so road department workers can install new drainage pipes at two sites under the road, which became hazardous over the cold, wet winter.

Assistant Engineer Matt Epperson said a section of 73, just north of the intersection with County Road 107, would be closed beginning Wednesday morning and would reopen Thursday at the latest.

Motorists traveling north will be detoured out 107 to Jemison, then north on Highway 31 and Highway 155 toward Montevallo. Going south, the detour will be west on County Road 2 to Highway 139, south all the way to Randolph and then back east on County Road 36.

Another section of 73 will be closed beginning May 17. Detours will use the 2-139-Highway 25 route.

Granted Coroner Randy Yeargan permission to purchase a temperature alarm system for the county morgue. Yeargan estimated the system would cost $700 including installation and that service would cost about $40 a month.

Heard from Carletta Singleton, with Census 2010, that 70 percent of county residents have mailed back their census forms.

Singleton said the number represents a nine percent increase over the 2000 census.

Census workers are entering the last stage of their project and will be traveling door-to-door to county residences from which a mailed form was not received.

Singleton said all census workers will carry a badge, which would be presented upon a resident asking the worker for verification.

Approved the temporary hiring, at a rate of $8 an hour, of someone to clean the county courthouse while the regular employee is out one week on sick leave.

Presented a plaque to Mike Kelley, former publisher of The Clanton Advertiser, for his contributions and years of service to the county.