Commission considers funding Sunset Road, drug task force

First steps in relocating Marengo County’s E911 system from Demopolis to Linden took place Tuesday.

The Marengo County Commission voted unanimously to lease the soon-to-be-vacant Economic Development Authority building to E911 for an annual fee of $1.

It is “extremely financially beneficial to relocate to a county building,” Emergency Management Agency/911 director Kevin McKinney told the commissioners.

Several factors precipitated the move to Linden, McKinney continued. Within the next year the Demopolis Water Works will be removing the water tower that E911 now uses for its transmitters. The agency must erect its own tower to the cost of $150,000.

Also, The state is requiring all emergency systems to covert from phone lines to voice-over internet through the Alabama Next Generation 911 project (ANGEN). None of Marengo County’s equipment is compatible with the new system and will cost about $200,000 to replace, McKinney said.

Building costs and technological costs “would cripple us financially” without a county building, he said.

County engineer Ken Atkins received unanimous approval to join the state RAMP program, a matching funds arrangement that he said, “speeds paving up by 10 to 15 years.”

Only counties in the state can join the program. All cities would have to roll their projects under the county umbrella. Marengo County would be eligible to receive a total of $7 million annually, with the first $5 million match-free, and the last $2 million needing a match of $400,000.

Under the former infrastructure program, the state would have final approval on which projects are to be funded. Under the RAMP program, the county would make its own decisions.

Atkins said the county now has three projects under the former program that would be transferred to RAMP. A $1.5 million bridge project in Demopolis also could be rolled over.

Another project that might be included in the RAMP program is the paving of Sunset Road in Demopolis. Mayor Mike Grayson, appearing for the first time at the commission, asked them to consider helping to fund the project for $38,685.

The road was annexed into the city under former Mayor Austin Caldwell. To meet construction standards set by the city for all road projects, the cost of paving Sunset Road would be $266,935. The city had budgeted only $228,250.

Once paved, the road would come fully under the maintenance of the city. The county would have no responsibility for upkeep.

Commissioners also gave approval to serving as a pass-through host agency for ADECA to fund the District Drug Task Force.

District Attorney Greg Griggers said the Task Force funding had been lost early in 2012. The City of Demopolis had been serving as the host agency.

All property purchased with ADECA funds would be transferred from Demopolis ownership to that of the county, he said.

The Task Force serves Marengo, Greene and Sumter counties.

In other action, the commission approved:

  • Hiring a new county appraiser to replace Babs Pritchett, who is retiring this month.
  • Hiring a replacement county engineer employee.
  • Applying to the state for reimbursement to homeowners who have built their own storm shelters.
  • $115,00 in matching funds to apply to the state to construct five community safe rooms. EMA/911 director McKinney said he would get with engineer Atkins to see what the county can provide in in-kind work, such as site leveling, that can be used as credit toward the matching funds.
  • A resolution and agreement to allow the Alabama Secretary of State to serve as the agent for the county to fund voter registration notification.
  • Renew the Pardon and Parole Lease.
  • A gravel bid from Paul Bradford for 50 cents per yard.