Garbage woes continue vexing county - The Randolph Leader: News

  • Roanoke, Randolph County, Alabama — February 18, 2018
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Garbage woes continue vexing county

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Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:31 am

WEDOWEE--"If we walk away, the citizens are left holding the bag," said Commissioner Derek Farr in this week's discussions surrounding the county's garbage problems.

Farr said the county cannot just abdicate its responsibilities and must make sure there are competitive rates for customers.

During Monday's meeting, Farr noted the law says the county cannot negotiate with a company because it had no bids from garbage contractors to take over the solid waste business. It could negotiate if it had only one bidder. The county will have to either re-bid or stay in the garbage collection business. If they stay in the business, they have to have better equipment.

Commissioner Terry Lovvorn suggested having an expert re-write the bids. Commissioner Doyle Allen agreed, saying they keep getting conflicting information and advice. Allen further said the county needs support logistically and legally so they can make decisions with more credence. Meanwhile, the public is getting impatient with the roads not being worked because they are usually worked in the spring. Some employees of the highway department are now picking up garbage.

Commission Chairman Lathonia Wright said the reason the county did not get any bids is because of the competitor in the garbage business. He said a consultant would tell them that is the problem.

Farr also mentioned the way Lee and Troup counties have dumpsters for citizens. This might also be something a consultant brings up.

The county administrator will try to find a consultant through the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

Ricky Rochester of Waste Solutions addressed the commission during the workshop in an effort to "take the high road." Rochester took offense to an article about the previous commission meeting and posted a video on Facebook, but had no idea it would get 7,000 views.

He said the commission inherited the problem of garbage collection and is doing the best they can with what they have. Most of the problems are due to no communication, he said.

Rochester offered the services of his company to collect the county's trash. He said our county is different because of the lake residents. Rochester said his employees depend on Randolph County and are committed to it.

During Monday's meeting, the commission approved buying two used trucks. "We have to keep up until we make a decision," said Commissioner Larry Roberts. He noted they didn't finish all the garbage routes the week before because of worn out trucks.

The commission also approved making someone in the highway department temporarily in charge of the solid waste department.

Roads

Three residents came to the Thursday workshop meeting to speak about the unofficial closure of County Road 968 in the Cragford area. They said a hunting club that leases some of the land on the road has gated the beginning of the road that leads to the river.

County engineer Burrel Jones said the road did not go through the formal closure process.

Jeff Landrum said the Tallapoosa River Hunting Club has blocked him from access to his property.

Chuck Sparks said many around Cragford are upset. This is a road they would take to go down to the river. Sparks said he has fished there for 60 years, until he was intimidated by a bully from the hunting club. He said none of the hunters are locals.

Another man at the meeting said he too has traveled the road for 60 years and then all of a sudden, it's gated.

Roberts said he supports the residents but doesn't want to "start a war." At the end of the workshop meeting, it was said the gate would be removed and someone from the county would get in the touch with the hunting club.

During Monday's meeting, Landrum spoke again, stating that after the workshop meeting, Jones said the road was abandoned by the county maintenance. Regardless, the gate is still blocking access for him and others who own property off the road. He said the road once led to a ferry to Malone. The county road sign has been removed. He said that is the only access to his property because of creeks and rivers.

Landrum said now hunters will shoot across the roadway. Even though they are renting Twilley Lands property, he said other Twilley property is not gated and guarded the way this is. He said, "They will fight you if you go in."

Landrum said the county stopped maintaining it because the loggers used the road so much, they just kept it repaired themselves. He said the hunting club must be using his land for free because he cannot go down there to stop them.

Lovvorn said even if it is abandoned, access should not be blocked. However, Lovvorn noted the county's regular attorney is also the attorney for Twilley Lands.

Farr asked if it is in the old minutes about the timber company taking over the road's maintenance.

Roberts said the commission doesn't know what its rights are in this situation. They will ask a different attorney. He said, "I don't want anyone being shot."

Basil Snyder of County Road 458 near Providence addressed the commission during the workshop meeting. He said that although his road has 15 residents, it doesn't get the degree of maintenance that neighboring and less populated roads do.

During Monday's meeting, it was agreed that the foremen of two districts would discuss it and decide the best approach since this road is right on the district line.

After two landowners spoke up in the public hearing on Thursday and the engineer and Allen visited the road, it was decided to close only a portion of County Road 641 near Potash, so as not to affect some houses and school bus access. It will be closed about one-third of a mile from County Road 65.

Work on County Road 92 starts this week.

Jail

Sheriff David Cofield said on Thursday there were 99 inmates in the county jail. He has been in touch with Roanoke Police Chief Adam Melton about housing female inmates in Roanoke if need be.

The commission will begin the process of selling timber off of the property where the new jail will be built. It will take two years to build the new jail.

Other business

Roberts told of his trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art for a program about Rock Mills pottery. "It was an eye opener for me because I am from the northern part of the county," he said. "They had some unique pieces."

The back-to-school sales tax holiday will be the last weekend in July.

The county will get a $14,000 refund from its liability insurance for staying safe.

Lovvorn noted the passing of John Robert Dudley, who was always a responsible logger.

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