Commission approves five-year road plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2000

The Butler County Commission adopted a five year plan Monday, March 13, designed to resurface roads in Butler County in need of attention.

The plan, proposed by County Engineer Dennis McCall, prioritizes certain roads by traffic count, roadway grade and accident data compiled over the last five years.

After presentations from concerned community members and some heated discussion among the commissioners, the commission voted 3-2 in favor of resurfacing County Road 59 in its entirety first, and then direct attention to County Road 62 from Highway 31 North to the Lowndes County line. Other roads to be resurfaced under the plan include County Road 45 from Highway 106 South to Highway 31 and County Road 25 from Highway 10 West, south to Highway 31.

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McCall said that while the project is considered a five year plan, it could take as long as eight or nine years to complete. He said the County's budget for road resurfacing is only $600,000 per year, and that each of the four roads to be resurfaced could use up to one and one-half year's funding to complete.

In other road related business, the commissioners voted unanimously to pursue a federal grant that could provide funding for the repair and upkeep of dirt roads in the county. Current funding from the federal government does not provide moneys for the maintenance of dirt roads.

During the monthly sheriff's report, Diane Harris spoke on behalf of several deputies in her department who have requested pay raises that had yet to be approved by the commission.

After much discussion, Commissioner Hendrix moved that all current and future deputies be given a five-percent pay increase at the end of a six-month probationary period as long as the required police academy training had been completed during that time. The motion was approved unanimously.

Also during the sheriff's report, Harris was joined by representatives from Bloodhound Solutions, a software company servicing law enforcement agencies, to ask for funds that will provide an automated law enforcement system to be installed in the Sheriff's Department. The software would interface law-enforcement and court records so that, among other things, the department could tell if a suspect had other outstanding warrants when arrested and booked into the jail. The system would require approximately $7,000 in hardware investments and a $700 per month fee for the software license. Harris said the department currently has no system of this type and is forced to do this type of investigative work manually. The commission voted unanimously to study the information and vote on whether or not to purchase the system at a later date.

The commission also voted unanimously to give Harris full control of two vehicles they had previously wanted to sell. In a special meeting last month, the commission asked Harris to surrender two vehicles under her control that were causing maintenance problems. Two new vehicles were purchased for the department earlier this year to replace the vehicles in question, but Harris said that surrendering the two older vehicles would leave her without adequate patrol vehicles. The commission recognized that the two vehicles had caused maintenance problems in the past, but that they were needed to adequately protect the citizens of Butler County.

In other business, the commission unanimously adopted a resolution to participate in the Alabama Homebuilder's Licensing Board. The board, which normally only applies to areas with populations of over 30,000 people, requires all contractors building homes to be licensed and held accountable for their work.

The commission said that participating with this board would provide some protection from questionable contractors who might try to provide shoddy workmanship.

During comments from the Butler County Water Authority, the commissioners were informed that the authority had purchased the Logan Water System, part of which lies in Lowndes County, and were asked to amend the authority's by-laws to include that area. The request was approved unanimously.