County approves right-of-way acquisition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

The Butler County Commission narrowly approved the Road Department's beginning a process of acquiring right-of-way property along two county dirt roads.

Gary Hanks' district will be a step closer to becoming a paved road after the county acquires the right-of-way. County Engineer Dennis McCall said he estimated the cost of the project to be around $10,000.

After discussing the matter, Commissioner Daniel Robinson decided to include Montezuma Road from his district as part of a motion to also begin acquiring the right-of-way there. Because it was just added to the motion McCall could not say how much the Montezuma project would cost.

Both of these roads are considered high-volume dirt roads. The project was approved for a preliminary survey to be performed. McCall said that neither road is likely to be paved anytime in the near future.

"What the approval means is that we are cleared to go in and do a preliminary survey to gain right-of-way which is only the first step in right-of-way acquisition," he said. "It will put us one step closer so that if any money should become available in the future we would have that work out of the way."

In a roll-call vote, Commission Chairman Leroy Johnson, serving at his last meeting as the chairman, cast the deciding vote to approve the project. Commissioners Joe Hendrix and Tex Kervin voted against the measure.

A stipulation to the motion said that if the Montezuma project costs more than $10,000 then the county engineer should bring it back before the council.

Other items discussed during the meeting included:

n Ricky McLaney of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development asked the commission to approve a tax abatement for Sylvest Farms Feed Mill. The commission had approved Enterprise Zone benefits to the company and they recently had received required paperwork from Sylvest for tax exemptions from the county. McLaney told the commission that the abatement will save Sylvest thousands of dollars.

"The paperwork states that the annual Ad Valorem (non-educational) exemption amounts to $55,000; sales and use tax on equipment and construction of a $10 million

facility will equal $204,000 and mortgage-related taxes will equal $15,000," McLaney said.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the abatement for Sylvest.

n Stacy Styron of South Central Alabama Development spoke at the meeting regarding grants for building a database of infrastructure for the Butler County Tax Assessor's office.

She told the commission that her office may have found a grant that would help the county with the project.

"We think we may have found a grant through the Community Adjustment Investment Program. They have designated Butler County and two other counties

eligible for this grant which deals with projects that address economic development," Styron said.

The deadline to apply for the grant is January 17. The commission gave its approval for her to speak with the Tax Assessor and to apply for the grant.

n The county commission voted to appropriate money that would have gone to the Starlington Community Volunteer Fire Department to be distributed equally among the county's other volunteer departments. The fire department in Starlington has been declared inactive. The commission voted unanimously to approve the measure with a stipulation that if the Starlington station were to reopen it would again get its share of the county funds.

n The commission began a process to make excessive noise in the rural sections of the county illegal. A noise ordinance is already in effect within the City of Greenville and the county will be looking into a law to cover all of Butler County.

n Johnson reported on the condition of the jail. He said workers have begun work on the jail to fix electrical wiring, a hole between two floors and cracks along the walls, as ordered by the Alabama Fire Marshal's Office.

He continued to say that the jail was in good condition and that it had recently received a score of 82, while the jail's kitchen scored an 89.

n McCall reported to the commission on several projects in the works by the Road Department. He said that repairs are complete on Mary Lane and Edmont Road and that County Road 38 will be treated for a widening and resurfacing project.

He also reported that Cedar Creek Bridge, which is being replaced due to flood damage sustained in 1998, will be poured by Christmas and that his crews would work on the approach after the holidays.

County Road 15 has been primed and an asphalt contractor should come in later in the week to repair a slide.

n The commission also voted to make their scheduled chairperson change effective in January. Hanks will take over the chair through November.

n Fern Nix and Dottie Till were on hand to discuss the condition of County Road 59. Nix said the residents there are disappointed in the county for paving only half of the road during the previous commission's tenure. She said it was time to finish the job especially as the number of logging and other vehiclar traffic is increasing.

The county is currently doing a traffic count on that road to determine its place on a priority list for federal funding.