July 10, 2017- At Monday’s planning session, Mr. Jack Dingler of Delta, AL, was present to plead with the Commission to help him save his cattle. Mr. Dingler went on to explain that his pasture, along with his neighbor, Mr. Merrell Bell’s pasture which adjoins Dingler’s land in the Shinbone area, has been flooded with all the excessive rain that has fallen over the past three weeks.
Over half of Dingler’s 20 acres of pasture land is several inches underwater and his 28 head of cattle are having a hard time finding dry land. Over 3/4 of Mr. Bell’s pasture acreage has been affected as well. Even with the waters receding somewhat at times between the rain showers, the grass is now dead. So because of this, Dingler said he, along with Bell, will soon be forced to sell their cattle if something doesn’t give soon. On top of the flooding, the stagnant waters have brought about horrible odors and an abundance of flies and mosquitos to the area affected.
While a simple solution could fix this problem without Dingler having to come address the Commission, but the owner of the land, Mr. White, where the county watershed resides is having no part of it. The owner of this property is very adamant that the water level not be reduced to alleviate the flooding of the pastures because he says he has stocked the lake and doesn’t want to lose his fish. Commissioner Morrison said the whole thing just sounded “fishy” to him to begin with. ” Here we are, and we’ve got two other farmers who are being affected and if we don’t open that up to reduce the water on their pasture land, they are going to lose their cattle. ”
After much discussion in the general meeting on this issue, County Attorney Greg Varner said even though he still had to look at the deeds where the property lines and easements ran in more detail, but he did say this to Commission in conclusion: ” There is no liability to Whites or the Dinglers here, but we do control the operation of the watersheds. You have the ability, its your call as to your decision. Mr. White having fishing is subject to our operation. Either way, there’s no liability to the county. It’s a discretionary measure on the county’s part as to what decision is made. If you elect to order the water shed to be reduced, make it conditional on my approval on the fish issue.”
Morrison’s motion went as follows: “Contingent on Varner’s findings, I make a motion we reduce the amount the water held by that water shed until it gets back down to the original contour. I don’t see where we should allow one individual to cause two other individuals to have to sell their cow herds just because they want to hold as much as water behind that dam.” This motion was followed by a second and unanimously approved.
On behalf of the Clay County Hospital, Debbie McKinney and Joel Tate addressed the Commission with a possible list of nominations for vacancies on the hospital board. Once these vacant positions are filled, they will look on the expired terms. This list was handed out to all Commissioners to review.
Morrison inquired why it took so long to fill these positions. Tate responded that it wasn’t easy to find people to be on the Board. McKinney also stated that since many people had traded land lines for cell phones, making it hard to get into contact with them with no access. six vacancies vacant. The following people were appointed to the Hospital Board:
- District 2 : David Williams and Andy Howard
- District 3: Ricky Farr, Claude Bennett, Sonny McCollum were all nominated, but was tabled.
- District 5: Tabled
County Engineer Jeremy Butler stated they had received their new side cutter last week. Butler said that First State Bank had given them a great financing rate, and was asking for a resolution to finance with them. This was approved.
There was a question in the planning session about the appointment of Millerville Water Authority. After looking into the minutes from the previous meeting, it was discovered that Kenny Packer had been appointed from District 4, and Lorenzo Caldwell from District 5 had been re-appointed, leaving District 2 open. Harris requested to re-submit Gary Chandler from District 2, which was approved.
Commissioners also approved a one year renewal on the health contract for the inmates. There were no changes to this contract.
EMA Director Theresa Daugherty announced she had secured a Homeland Security Grant in the amount of $22,826 for a new repeater in the Coppermine/ area in the North End of the county. The 20 yr old repeater that was in this area had went out some time ago, but luckily, they were able to re-program an old repeater to replace it temporarily, however this left them with no backup. This repeater is a very important piece of equipment, used by both the EMA and fire department and is also used to sound the sirens.This is a 100% grant that requires no matching funds by the county. The new dual- band repeater to be purchased is now being offered on the State Bid list. The Commission approved this request to go ahead and purchase the new repeater and commended Daugherty on securing these funds.
Tiffany Young, Chamber CEO was present to ask the Commission for their support in the Clay County Fair to be held October 19-21 at the AES Practice Field. This event will feature carnival rides, vendors, food, and live entertainment. Commissioner Morrison said he felt this event would be very beneficial to the county and they should support by doing a platinum sponsorship in the amount of $1000. This would require an amendment to the budget and will have to be ran in the paper to be put on the agenda for the next meeting before it can be voted on at the next meeting.
John DeCourcey approached the Commission about re-applying for
grant money to paint the runway at the Airport. DeCourcey stated they had grant money left over and the FAA notified them and said they were going to distribute it to another airport, because they didn’t have a need for it here. However, it was discovered upon inspection that the numbers on the runway were unreadable and needed to be re-painted. The total project cost will be just over $40,000, with matching funds coming from the county just in excess of $2000. This request was approved.
Morrison made an inquiry about the overtime budget, wanting to make sure the amounts put into place for both the Engineering and Sheriff’s Office had not been exceeded in order to make sure the budget wasn’t affected. The Sheriff’s Department is allotted 20,000 and have only used 5,500 thus far, the jail allotted 15,000 , have only used 5,600 and the Engineering Department budgeted 20,000, used only 10,000. There are no other county departments who are allotted an overtime budget.
In other business, Morrison explained that Chairman Ray Milstead’s self appointment to the EDC ( Economic Development Council) was not legal at their last meeting because it was never brought before the Commission for a vote, therefore every business item that took place at this at meeting was null and void. Milstead had explained that he did not appoint himself to the Board, but was just filling in until he can appoint somebody at the next meeting. His future appointment should resolve any further issues.
Other agenda items approved involved the following:
- budget amendment to pay Hurst Construction in the amount of $63, 859.31 for work at the Courthouse.
- Approval to participate in COLA for County Retirees.
Probate Judge Dianne Branch presented a check to the Commission in the amount of $11,394, funds she had secured in a grant that will secure the contract for maintenance of the 2004 Election Machines. This brought about a round of applause for Branch.
Sheriff Ray Latham present a check for approximately $20,000 to the Commission for housing federal inmates.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, Rep. Steve Hurst spoke brieflybefore the commission, thanked the Commissioners and the Sheriff for everything they had done. He expressed his concerns over some things going on within the state that will affect us a later date. He invited everyone to come see him if there was a need.