Commission hoping to expand industrial development with new property

Published 2:44 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission addressed concerns from the community about the property that was bought off of Exit 200 on Interstate 65 at their meeting on April 26. Jerry Grooms served as the messenger for the community members who were concerned about the $850,000 price tag for the property. Grooms biggest concern was why the commission paid so much for a property that is not worth that much.

Commission Chairman Jimmie Hardee told Grooms that the property is going to be developed for industrial development, and that was the biggest reason it was purchased for that amount.

“It’s not about how much you advertise it for, it is about what you can get for it,” Hardee said.

Grooms also expressed concerns about the bathrooms inside the courthouse being Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. Hardee said the current courthouse will not be remodeled to meet those ADA requirements because of the cost of the updates and the chance other issues may arise that could inflate the price even more and cause the building to become unusable for months.

More updates on the courthouse will be given at later meetings and work sessions.

Butch Billingsley’s resolution to approve the final plat for phase 2 of his subdivision was unanimously approved.

Mitchell E. Cost spoke in front of the commission about getting his gravel road off Highway 145 scrapped off. The road is north of County Road 182 and south of County Road 163. Hardee said the commission has already sent people out, and the road will be addressed within the next few weeks.

Donald Giles, the park ranger at Higgins Ferry, proposed a few resolutions. The commission approved that Higgins Ferry send out bids for a tractor with a bucket for the park. The commission also approved Higgins Ferry to receive bids for a grapple tool for the tractors, as well as the hydraulics that would be needed to use it on the tractor. Finally, the commission approved the park to receive bids on a single-seat side-by-side vehicle.

Commissioner Allen Williams pointed out that Giles has used his own tractor and side-by-side at Higgins Ferry since he began almost three years ago, saving the county money during that time.

During the commission reports, Williams discussed the possibly of using community service to help clear out the culvert pipes in the county. Williams spoke to Judge Chris Speaks, and Speaks said the give him some guidelines on how it would work. According to Williams, Speaks said the liability will be no different than what the litter control agent has. The commission requested more information on the matter and it was tabled to the next session.

Williams also brought County Road 199 to the attention of the commission. He said certain spots where the new asphalt had been laid has been broken up due to the truck traffic on the road. Those spots will be fixed within the next few months.

Lastly during the meeting, Hardee signed a letter to Washington D.C. stating the city and county are supportive of the Chilton County Airport Authority and its vision to expand the airport for future projects. The goal for the airport is to make the runway longer to allow larger commercial and cargo planes to land at the airport. Hardee is a member of the airport authority.

Commissioner Matthew Mims was not at the meeting.

A resolution to cancel the May 24 meeting due it being election day in Chilton County was passed. Williams voted against cancelling the meeting. A second resolution was passed to make May 31 a work session for the commission.

Also, during the meeting, the commission:

  • Approved new hire Tanner Gray as a full-time courthouse security guard effective May 2.
  • Accepted the resignation of Angela Campbell effective April 26, approved the probate office to advertise and hire a probate clerk and approved permission for the office to hire a temporary hire.
  • Accepted the resignation of Chris Robinson, a side cutter operator, effective April 8 and approved permission for the road department to advertise and hire a replacement.
  • Approved a pay increase for Teddie Chamber, a part-time Minooka Park clerk, effective April 30.
  • Approved the Sheriff’s Office request to pay River Regions for air conditioning repairs in the jail kitchen for $881.62 that will come out of the jail maintenance fund.
  • Approved the road department to send out bids for dirt road reclamation project which includes cleaning out ditches and the removing debris from dirt road ditches.