Commission looks at new legislation

Published 12:11 pm Thursday, September 27, 2012

County Commission Chairman Rickey McElwain and County Engineer Benjie Sanders attended a legislation workshop earlier this week and reported to the Commission about upcoming logging legislation.

The proposed ordinance allows counties to have more supervision where logging is concerned, and in turn improve road maintenance.

“It’s a pretty complicated subject,” Sanders said. “There’s a lot of information and understanding that goes along with that.”

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Sanders said there will be a lot of work involved in getting the measure implemented and more work getting employees educated and trained.

Under the proposed legislation, a logging company would have to submit a form to the county, which would review the proposed logging site for safety or drainage problems.

“We would have a certain amount of time to give approval — four business days for new access or two business days for existing access,” Sanders said.

Sanders said he feels like the site inspections can be done without the need for another employee.

The proposal doesn’t include any fees or requirements for a bond, unless an organization has been fined $500 three times in the last 24 months.

“I think it’ll be the most significant thing in allowing us to maintain unpaved roads,” said Sanders, who added that logging has been a major factor in unpaved road conditions.

“What I’d like to do is get the documents to you before the first meeting in October so you can be reading through them,” Sanders told the Commission.

He said that the Association of County Commissions of Alabama would like to get all counties passing the legislation on the same timeline of passing it in October and getting it in place by Dec. 1.

In other business, County Administrator David Smyth said that he and county attorney Levi Nichols are working with Advanced Disposal to resolve problems with garbage pickup.

The Commission also approved a number of bids, but refrained from approving a bid for concrete.

Sanders said that the bids received for concrete weren’t competitive, and he also addressed the problem of having to travel to Troy or Greenville to get concrete.

“You would have to spend time and fuel for a 50-mile round trip to Troy or Greenville,” he said.

The only local source of concrete is Stephens Concrete, which is owned by County Commissioner Michelle Stephens, and Sanders said that would be a conflict of interest.

The commission rejected the concrete bid and will investigate other options.

The next meeting of the Commission was scheduled for Oct. 8, which is Columbus Day and a state holiday.

That meeting has been canceled unless it is deemed necessary by Chairman McElwain, in which case the meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9.