Paving dirt roads, bridges among projects

A couple of road projects took center stage during the Chilton County Commission meeting on Nov. 24.

First, the county has been granted a Community Development Block Grant to pave County Roads 127, 128 and 201.

The roads are currently dirt roads located in the unincorporated area of Chilton County close to Calera.

The goal of the project is to pave more than four miles of dirt roads that are causing public safety concerns for the residents.

According to ADECA, 386 people will benefit from the project. Of those people, 91% have a low or moderate income.

Chilton County will provide a local match of $260,000, while the state will pay the other half of the project’s finances.

According to County Engineer Tony Wearren, grants with the purpose of turning dirt roads into paved ones are rare.

The second of the paving projects discussed includes replacing a pair of bridges along County Road 17 in Maplesville.

The Commission approved the hiring of Volkert to do the preliminary engineering for the bridge project.

According to Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell, if the county pays for the engineering portion of the project, it could be let in March.

Gov. Kay Ivey has pushed for the bridge project, and the state will help pay to see its completion.

“This is an opportunity to fix these roads,” Parnell said.

The county will pay $150,000 annually for the next three years as part of the bridge project agreement.

Commissioner Jimmie Hardee applauded Wearren for his endless work ethic to improve the county’s infrastructure.

“I would put him up against any county engineer in the state,” Hardee said.

In other news from the meeting:

  • EMA Director Derrick Wright informed the Commission that the Verbena storm shelter will be the first of the shelters needing to be painted to be worked on.
  • Storm shelters being constructed at Cedar Grove, Union Grove No. 2 and Gap of the Mountain No. 2 are coming along nicely.
  • The Commission gave permission to the City of Clanton to use the courthouse’s parking lot, electric box and restrooms during the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 3.
  • The Higgins Ferry playground project is on schedule.
  • Jemison Intermediate Principal D.J. Nix thanked the Commission for their continued support of the school’s outdoor classroom.
  • The purchase of kitchen equipment from Cooks for the jail for $23,791.44 was approved. It will be paid from the jail maintenance fund.
  • The bid for front door scanner/metal detectors with temperature scanners at the courthouse, tag office and jail was approved. They were paid for by a grant.
  • Freddie Mayfield was added as a part-time civil processor with Sheriff’s Office.
  • Michele Headley was reclassified to chief appraiser with the tag office. She has been with the county for about 33 years.
  • Melanie Prather, Kyle Bennis, Brad Carter, Tracey Ramsey, Rita Jordan, Angela Fulmer, Kim Gillespie, Tina McKenzie, Rebekah Headley, Donna Willis, Mary Littlejohn, Jenny Summerlin, Lisa Smith, Carrie Staggs and Cindy Jones received a 3% pay increase, which was in budget.
  • Nominations were opened to fill seats on the Chilton Water Authority Board and the Solid Waste Authority Board.
  • The hiring of Paul McFarland was rescinded after he did not show up for work after being hired as a truck driver with the road department.
  • The chairman was authorized to sign the contract with Wiregrass for the road projects next year.
  • Nic Bolton and Derrick Wright received a 3% pay increase, which was in the EMA department’s budget.
  • The next Commission meeting will be Dec. 8 with a work session at 5 p.m. followed by a voting session at 6 p.m. It will take place in the courthouse.

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