County Commission declares opposition to Amendment 2

Marengo County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose Amendment 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot by approving a resolution drawn by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA).

The proposed amendment would take $50 million from the Alabama Trust Fund to make capital improvements at Alabama National Guard armories. Opposition to the amendment stems from the fact that no provision is made for repayment of the funds, which would mean a permanent reduction of monies held in the fund.

The ACCA estimates interest and other costs for the bond issue would result in a total of $74 million being removed from the fund over a 20-year period.

As it stands today, only the interest on money in the Alabama Trust Fund can be spent without voter approval. Without a repayment requirement, the amount of money in the trust fund would be permanently reduced, affecting the funds that are channeled to the state and local governments.

Commissioner Freddie Armstead said oversight of the county’s Red Cross center is being moved from the Montgomery district to the one in Tuscaloosa, a change he vehemently opposes.

“I have fought and fought” the change, he said. “I don’t think we’re going to get the same service. Tuscaloosa is not concerned about us.”

The senior aide now manning the local office is paid for through funds from the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Authority. Since Tuscaloosa County is not a part of the ATRC, the aide no longer will be available in that post, Armstead continued.

Cindy McDonald, representing the Bigbee Humane Society in Demopolis, asked the commission if there was any possibility the county could open a shelter for stray dogs.

The Demopolis facility, she said, is at full capacity with 60 dogs, and it simply cannot accept strays from outside the city. “I represent four ladies trying to save the world,” she said.

The shelter has saved and relocated some 600 dogs over the last six years that otherwise must be put to sleep. “We have such a problem here,” she said.

Commissioner Armstead said the county would do what it could to help the shelter financially, since it relies on donations and its thrift store to pay for food and vet bills.

County engineer Ken Atkins will get more than $11,000 for his department after bids were opened to purchase surplus equipment. While the money is always welcomed, Atkins said he is glad to get rid of the junk items.

William Scott, founder of Tristatz, LLC, asked the commission to consider a proposal for a Community Economic Development Marketing Project that would include the 14 counties in the Black Belt region.

He said the service would cost each county $6,000 and should have a return on investment in the tens of thousands of dollars.

John Bell, county solid waste officer, said there has been a two percent increase to garbage service in the county that took effect Oct. 1. The monthly rate has gone up by 35 cents.

In other action, the commission approved:

  • Goodwin, Mills and Cawood as the low bidder at $6,500 for the update of the county’s Solid Waste Plan.
  • The bid for light weight aggregate by Big River Industries.
  • Hiring Edward Adams and Jason Charleston to the road department.
  • Reappointing Tommie Reese and Bruce Baker to the E-911 board.
  • Long Term Detention Subsidy contract.
  • ATRC Area Agency on Aging Contract for Services.
  • Sales Tax Abatement for Demopolis Hickory Mill.
  • Liquor License for Ice House Pool Hall and Lounge in Dixons Mills.
  • Revenue Discovery Systems to file suit against a business for unpaid taxes.

The next commission meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12, due to Veteran’s Day holiday on the usual meeting date.