County Commission to apply for grant to pave Garnersville Road

Published 9:38 am Thursday, February 14, 2013

Part of Garnersville Road may soon be getting a new look if the county is approved for a Community Development Block Grant, County Engineer Benjie Sanders reported to the Commission Monday morning.

“This is a good project for the county to look at,” said District 5 County Commissioner Charlie Sankey.  Garnersville Road falls in his district.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints about that road,” he said. “It’s had increased traffic from Dongwon, and there are also several other roads that shoot off of it.”

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Sankey said he hopes grant will be approved.

Sanders told the Commission that he has been working on the figures for a potential project on that road.

One thing Sanders looked at was the number of people benefitted by a road project.

Paving a 1.6-mile stretch of Garnersville Road from Highway 331 to 0.5 miles past Summerlin Road yields the greatest ratio of beneficiaries.

Another project that has been considered is Mulberry Road, but Sanders said even though the road needs it, it may not have the population necessary to receive funding from a grant.

“Mulberry Road is a long road without the density of population needed to leverage the full grant,” he said.

The county is considering a partial paving of Garnersville Road because including the full length of the road would also drop the population density.

“I’m trying to look at this through the eyes of ADECA,” Sanders said. “It’s like football: we’re trying to put our best out there to win.”

In other business, the county has been in talks with Dongwon Autopart Technology Alabama to jointly apply for a grant to improve the company’s sewer system, which would allow for the expansion of up to 100 new jobs.

The Commission approved the proposed contract pending several changes in its language.

Probate Judge Jim Perdue also presented the Commission with a list of how many people in Crenshaw County voted in the last election and where those votes were placed.

Perdue said he is not recommending closing any polling places, but several Commissioners pointed out that the county is funding a full complement of poll workers for some locations that have very few people vote there.

No action was taken on the matter.

The Commission also received an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office concerning the buying of concrete.

Because the only concrete supplier in the county, Stephens Concrete, is owned by Commissioner Michelle Stephens, county workers must travel to either Troy or Greenville to purchase concrete, which adds cost to projects.

The Commission submitted to the AG’s office for an opinion in late November, and County Administrator David Smyth said that the opinion arrived late Friday afternoon.

As a result, he said he had been unable to get a local opinion from county attorney Levi Nichols before Monday morning’s meeting.

“I don’t have enough information to vote on this,” said Sankey, who pointed out that the AG’s opinion seemingly contradicts itself in several places.

A motion passed to table the matter.

The Commission also considered preparing a bill to send to the state legislature for approval that would allow the Commission to have to approve all tax abatements given to prospective businesses by the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority.

“It should come before us,” said Stephens, who added that taxes are county money.

As it stands, County Commissioners appoint members to the economic development board, an entity that ultimately votes on abatements.

Sankey pointed out that the argument could be made that even though Commissioners don’t vote directly, they have control over who is appointed to the board and votes on the matter.

A motion was made to draw up a bill to submit to Rep. Charles Newton, but that motion was withdrawn in favor of talking to Newton about the proper process for submitting such a measure.