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Commission approves jail purchases

LaFAYETTE — The Chambers County Commission on Monday took action on several items relating to the county detention facility. It unanimously authorized an expense of more than $40,000 for bunks and tables for the new jail addition, amended the public safety budget $18,000 for a change order and amended the general fund budget close to $75,000 to cover additional personnel salaries and benefits to operate the new addition.

Major Mike Parrish told the commissioners that 60 bunks, or 120 individual beds, and 15 stainless steel tables are included in the purchase. Low bidder Logan Machine Works of Phenix City was the low bidder at $41,250. Parrish said he felt good about the bid, that Logan did quality work.

County Attorney Skip McCoy explained that the $18,000 expense would cover the cost of painting the walls in the new addition. He said that doing this would save the county money in the long run. It will allow the walls to be painted with block fill, a uniform color that includes a sealant and a primer.

“It will look better, will help prevent mold and excess moisture and will save us the cost of a primer later on,” McCoy said.

“$18,000 now is better than $52,000 later on,” said Commissioner David Eastridge. “We can also save money by having the inmates do the painting.”

The budget amendment is for $74,288. This is for additional salaries and benefits to pay four employees for six months service at the detention facility.

The Commission approved a request made by County Manager Regina Chambers for the county to participate in a liability self-insurance fund with the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama (ACCA).

This covers the period from Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2023.

In action requested by County Engineer Josh Harvill, the commission approved resolutions on drug and alcohol testing and for the annual full depth reclamation bid. The drug and alcohol testing is for employees of the county highway department. It allows East Alabama Occupational Medicine to serve as a third-party administrator of the program. There’s a $500 annual fee plus a $36 per person fee for drug testing and $35 per person fee for alcohol testing.

The paving bid went to low bidder Chris Clark Grading & Paving. It involves five paving projects to be done on county roads this year.

Commissioner James Williams said he knows that the weather has been bad lately, but he’d like to see some action taken to repair potholes in county roads.

Commissioner Debra Riley suggested that citizens with complaints about potholes call the highway department or the commission office.

“We need to know where they are before we can do anything about it. Let’s make sure we go to the right places,” Riley said. “We don’t want anyone getting hurt.”

“Call 911 if you see a tree down in the road,” Commissioner Eastridge said.

Chambers County EMA Director Jessica Yeager reported on some recent flash flooding in the county. She said that 911 didn’t get many calls on it, that most of them went to the highway department.

“They did an outstanding job with this,” she said.

“We have an on-call staff 24 hours a day,” Harvill said.

“When a problem is reported, we dispatch people to take care of it. Sometimes we have to close a road, but that’s better than someone getting hurt.”

Harvill added that five county roads had to be closed in the recent flooding. Three of them have been reopened, but County Road 156 and CR 224 are still closed.

“County Road 224 (near Five Points) will need some permanent repairs,” he said. “A pipe failed. Our dirt roads have suffered with the long-term rain we’ve had. We’ve had a hard time in keeping up with the multiple rounds of rain we’ve had. It’s hard to get the equipment in, but we are working as hard as we can. We asking for some patience on this. What we need the most right now are some sunny days where we can dry out.”

McCoy said there was a bill pending in the legislature on setting qualifications to run for Chambers County sheriff’. He said the legislation was supported by State Representative Debbie Wood and State Senator Randy Price.

“We should have it done by May,” he said.