County Commission passes budget; discusses Gandy Ferry Road grant

By a unanimous vote, the Marengo County Commission passed the 2015-2016 budget at its meeting Tuesday morning.

Revenue for the county is estimated to be $17,618.32 and expenditures, $14,076,838.71, leaving restricted funds of $3,541,840.61.

In the public comments portion of the meeting, Ben Sherrod of Demopolis asked the commission when work will begin on the Gandy Ferry Road leading to the Lower Pool.

The federal grant for the work was approved about two years ago, and Sherrod expressed concern that the time limit may run out and the funding lost.

He said boaters and campers avoid the park and boat landing because the dirt road usually is in poor shape. As it is, he continued, some 1,000 vehicles use the road each week.

County engineer Ken Atkins said the federal grant money for the work must go through the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the county is working to complete the necessary procedures for the state to approve a go-ahead.

“It’ll take longer to do all the paperwork than it will to actually do the paving,” said Atkins, adding that the county is aiming to begin the work next summer.

In the meantime, said Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead, the county will see if the road can be graded weekly.

Atkins also opened bids for construction material. Commissioners approve the lowest bids, subject to Atkins’ review.

Clay Gravel was the only bidder for gravel. Liquid asphalt bids came from Hunt Refining, Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions and Blacklidge.

Rush Enterprises and Harvey Culvert Company bid on aluminum and metal pipe, while Harvey Culvert was the only bidder for plastic pipe.

Bids for aggregate came from Southeast Materials and Apec Midsouth. The three bidders for gas and oil were Pruett Oil, Slidell Oil and Petroleum Traders.

New hires for the County Detention Center are Tadas Eirby, Sandricka Jones, Justin Coleman and Bryan Bennmett, which Tyjuan Steele was hired for the road department.

In other business, the commission approved a tax abatement for the Demopolis Hickory Mill and a six-month, .75 percent CD rate with Sweet Water State Bank.