Commission schedules work session to discuss county roads

Published 3:47 pm Thursday, July 16, 2015

Commissioners voted Monday to schedule a work session for July 20 to discuss the county’s road systems.

Commissioner Shannon Welch suggested commissioners meet to discuss a future plan for road systems within the county, suggesting the possibility of discussing a plan for the roads for the next several years.

“We have to come up with a plan,” Welch said. “Right now, we have no plan, and we give Tony (county road engineer) the budget every year and he is doing the best he sees fit.”

Commissioner Joseph Parnell estimated the county is underfunding roads about $3 million a year.

“We do need to come up with a solution using the money we do have,” Parnell said. “Roads make up 95 percent of the calls I receive from the public, and due to our limitations on funding, it appears it is getting the least amount of our attention. We need to look at out-of-the-box ideas to fix the problem we have.”

Commissioners voted to schedule a work session July 20 at 4 p.m. to meet with Tony Wearren.

In other news, the commission:

•Approved a resolution showing the county’s support for a Community Corrections program in Chilton County. Commissioners heard from Cheryl Maddox who works with the program and who requested commissioners approve a letter of support saying they would continue to support the Community Corrections being in Chilton County’s boundaries.

•Heard from representatives with the Thorsby FFA poultry judging and meat evaluation teams who will have a chance to compete in October at the FFA National Convention. The students requested donations from the commission to help fund their trip to Louisville, Ky. Oct. 26-31. Commission Chairman Allen Caton said the commission as a whole is unable to donate, but individual commissioners could give donations. Several commissioners told the group they would help give donations in support.

•Approved the hire of James Collins as a part-time driver at the Chilton County Transit Authority.

•Voted to approve a request for the advertisement of the closing of a portion of County Road 238. Commissioner Joe Headley told commissioners he spoke with residents who live on the road who are requesting a portion of the road be closed. Headley told commissioners he got signatures of everyone who lives on the road and notarized it, saying the residents want the road closed. Headley did not elaborate why the residents want the road closed, but commissioners voted in favor of allowing the road closure to be advertised. It is a customary procedure for commissioners to hold a public hearing for road closures after the advertisement has run for four weeks. If any individual shows opposition to the road being closed, commissioners usually vote against closing it.

•Heard from Parnell who suggested commissioners start traveling to the roads residents request closing before voting to close them. Parnell said he thought it would be beneficial for commissioners to see the roads before taking action on them.

•Tabled a discussion requesting commissioners approve a one-time bonus for county retirees. Commissioners voted to table the discussion after they had more time to look into the request.

•Approved allowing Caton to sign a County Road 233 crossing closure agreement. Commissioners voted earlier this year to approve the highway railroad crossing at County Road 233 and U.S. Highway 31.

Stephen Curlee with CSX Transportation originally approached the commission about closing the crossing. Caton spoke with property owners who live near the crossing before commissioners voted in favor of closing it. Caton reported to the commission all of the property owners were in favor of the closure. Curlee told commissioners if they decided to close the crossing, CSX could fund $7,500 toward the closure and ALDOT would match $7,500.