Commission: solution to county’s road problem needed

Published 6:04 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The maintenance of roads is almost always a topic at meetings of the Chilton County Commission, but even more time than usual was spent talking about roads at this week’s meeting.

Commissioners, all of whom were present, heard from residents with concerns about four different roads and award a bid for the striping of roads before entering a big-picture discussion about roads.

“You’re not going to fix this problem without millions of dollars,” Commissioner Joseph Parnell said soon after the bid was awarded to Highway Management Systems, which led to comments about the high cost of maintaining roads. “This is the most important issue we have facing us. We need to sit down and figure this out.”

Parnell suggested holding a work session to talk about the issue. Other commissioners talked about various ideas for generating revenue.

Commissioners also mentioned that the budget for the road department has been flat for seven years and that the staff in the department was down more than 20 people since the start of Engineer Tony Wearren’s tenure.

The discussion followed by complaints from residents about county roads 46, 109, 724 and 142.

Carol and John Bice said work to build up County Road 109 has caused flooding in the area, including the washing away of their privately-owned road.

“We don’t even have a road anymore,” John Bice said.

Several other residents in attendance confirmed the issue, saying they’ve been notified by the U.S. Postal Service that mail will no longer be delivered to their homes.

James Burnette then addressed the commission about county roads 724 and 142.

In other business, the Commission:

•Was presented a draft of an animal control bill for review.

•Heard from Sheriff John Shearon that he would like to meet with the Commission during a work session about issues the department will face because of recent state legislation.

•Approved final plat approval for Peach Lane Subdivision.

•Approved the appointments of Scotty Wells, Cheryl Robinson and Awlahjaday Agee to the Sheriff’s Department Merit Board.

•Approved minutes from the March 28 meeting.

•Approved paying necessary bills.

•Entered into executive session to discuss pending legal matters and adjourned afterward without taking action.