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Commission disbands Butler County parks, rec board

The Butler County Commission decided to go in a different direction with the county’s recreation board.

At its Monday morning meeting, the commission voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to disband the board.

“The board has served a tremendous purpose for Butler County, in the fact that it provides recreational opportunities for citizens for Butler County, that they might otherwise not have,” District 3 Commissioner Frank Hickman said. “The board operated well for a period of time. Many members who have served on this board have done a lot of good things.”

The county commission discussed disbanding the board at its workshop meeting last Thursday.

The Butler County Park and Recreation Board was created by the BC Commission. It distributed monies that were being allocated from the county to the Georgiana, McKenzie and Greenville park and rec boards.

Hickman said several years ago, the board had a lot of members whose terms expired. The big problem was filling their places, he said.

“We didn’t replace them because it was difficult to find people who wanted to do that,” Hickman said. “As a result of that, we have made a decision, that as currently constituted, it would be better to disband the parks and recreation board and find a new method or avenue to assist the citizens of Butler County an opportunity for recreational activities.”

Hickman, who noted that it was a unanimous to disband the board, said the commission wishes to thank those who served on the board.

“We thank them for their service and we appreciate them very much,” he said.

District 1 Commissioner Joey Peavy said that many kids benefited from the board.

“It’s a valued asset,” Peavy said, adding that a new direction will be approached for the board. “We’re going to have to go in a different direction. The children are our future and we want to take care of them the best we can. We’re by no means through serving the children of Butler County.”

On a separate but related item, the commission moved to amend the agenda to add a budget amendment of $3,000 to Georgiana’s parks and recreation department’s already-budgeted $5,000.

“This budget has been an $8,000 item,” District 2 Commissioner Jesse McWilliams said. “Therefore, I make a motion to amend the budget to add $3,000 back to the $5,000 for a total of $8,000.”

Last week, Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell came to the commission asking for funds for projects to repair the fence on the softball field and fixing the toilets in the visitor’s toilets.

The commission approved the budget amendment.

McWilliams also made a motion to appropriate $4,000 each to the City of Georgiana and the Town of McKenzie, pending their approval, for the purpose of parks and recreation.

Peavy said this is a one-time appropriation for Georgiana and McKenzie.

“We’re not saying this to say that it’s a yearly, annual thing,” Peavy said. “We’re not setting a fund for $4,000 a year for each one. This is just for this year. We’re not opposed in the future for Georgiana and McKenzie asking for another amount.”

The commission approved the one-time appropriation.

In other business, the commission:

• distributed appropriation checks to the Butler County Soil and Water Conservation District, Red Cross, South Butler Rescue, Family Sunshine Center out of Montgomery and the Child Advocacy Center;

• acknowledged that the state mileage increased from 56 cents to 57.5 cents per mile for work-related travel expense reimbursement;

• approved a resolution for the 2015 Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday, from Feb. 20-22, 2015;

• heard Shirley Sandy’s EMA Director’s Report on CLEM, GoToMeeting Conference Calling and a contract for HMPG 4176 – Safe Rooms at $34,018.88;

• heard Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden give a positive report on the correctional facility. Harden said recently the jail had a state fire inspection and it passed;

• heard from county engineer Dennis McCall on the financing for the John Deere motor grader at 1.89 percent interest at $237,845, which the commission — except for Hickman due to a conflict of interest — voted to approve, a resolution declaring five items as surplus and to be sold be auction and the clean up of an illegal dump site; and updated the commission on project statuses such as the ATRIP and CDBG projects; and,

• approved the payment of the county’s bills.

During the post-meeting commissioner’s comments portion of the meeting, topics that were discussed include maintenance of the county roads, the decrease in road department employment and when a local business comes in with the addition of 25-30 jobs, then it’s good for Butler County, among others.

Early next month, Butler County is hosting the Coffee at the Courthouse Event for elected officials from Conecuh, Crenshaw and Lowndes County on Wed., Feb. 4, 2015, at 9 a.m.