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County sells CoreLinc building, deeds Crystal Lake to Util. Board

Commission sells CoreLinc building, gives Crystal Lake to utilities board

by Mike McCormick

At Monday’s meeting of Randolph County Commission, the commission sold property, donated property and turned property over from the county to the City of Roanoke. The first issue on the agenda was the old CoreLinc property on Highway 431 in Roanoke. Realtor Sonja Hollomon told commissioners at Thursday’s work shop meeting the prospective buyer of the property had declined the counter offer of $400,000 by the commission. The buyer had made an offer of $390,000.

Hollomon said with the economy the way it is and real estate almost at a standstill, the commission needed to accept the offer. At Monday’s meeting, the commission unanimously approved the offer and earmarked the money for construction of the much needed logistics building across from the county jail. The building had been promised to the fire association a couple of years ago. The building will be constructed and shared by the rescue squad, fire association and sheriff’s department.

“If this money goes into the general fund the logistics building will never be built,” said Commissioner Larry Roberts.

Crystal Lake changes hands

After two years of negotiations, the chairman of the commission will sign a quit claim deed for High Pine Watershed, better known as Crystal Lake, to the Roanoke Utilities Board.

Ownership of and responsibility for the lake came under scrutiny and dispute several years ago as a result of a flood.

The Roanoke Utilities Board said the lake belonged to the county during the flood, and county crews worked on the lake to alleviate the emergency caused by the flood. The county said the lake belonged to the city since it’s the main source of water to the city, and documentation was found supporting both sides’ claims.

Attorney Jason Odem represented the county since County Attorney cited a conflict of interest. In just a short period of time, the utilities board will officially own Crystal Lake and will be responsible to maintain every part of it.

Property donation

In other land transactions, the county agreed for the county attorney to draw up a quit claim deed for the transfer of just under a quarter of an acre in the Town of Wadley to the town. The property is located adjacent and near the Wadley Clinic. It was noted the county would never do anything with the land and the town could expand the clinic or locate other facilities on the property.

Highway 22 property

The commission discussed several options at Thursday’s workshop on property located at the corner of Price Street and Highway 22 known as the Huey Property. After a discussion at Monday’s meeting, the commission decided to table the issue on what to do with the property. “We can’t afford to sell or give this property away with the highway frontage,” said Roberts. The property joins the property occupied by the Boys and Girls Club and was the former location of the Red Cross. The building on the property has been torn down.

One cent sales tax

The commission approved the continuation of a one cent sales tax for the remainder of this commission’s term to help fund education in county and city schools.

County Superintendent John Jacobs and Roanoke city school superintendent Greg Foster addressed the commission at the workshop meeting concerning the much needed tax.

“I just don’t know if we could stay afloat without it,” Jacobs said. “I want to thank you for your support for the tax and I can assure you we use the money wisely.”

He went on to say the tax funds fill in the gaps the state doesn’t.

“The state mandates but gives us no money. We use the money for buses, school resource officers, computers and many other needed items for our students. Our main issue right now is safety at the schools.”

Jacobs closed by asking the commission to renew the tax for an extended period of time.

Foster echoed Jacobs’ comments and added, “We use the money in many ways and when you visit our schools you can see what the money has done and is doing.”

Foster went on to say that without the funds from the tax, programs such as drama and chorus would not be possible. After approving the extension of the tax, commissioners wanted to emphasize the tax is just a renewal and NOT a new tax.

Pistol Permit funds

With the law changing on carrying a weapon without a permit, Sheriff David Cofield will be losing a large sum of money from permit fees. The money was used to buy needed equipment for the sheriff’s department.

A grant has been approved to replace these funds for sheriff’s departments around the state. The grant funds will be sent to the commission and deposited in a separate bank account at First State Bank. The sheriff can use the money as he needs it. It should be noted that pistol permits (conceal carry) are still available and if anyone plans to travel out of state it would be a good idea to purchase a permit.

Rebuild Alabama disappointment

At Thursday’s workshop, Engineer Burrell Jones told the commission that the Rebuild Alabama plans for roadwork in the county had to be changed, with one county road totally removed from the list due to the rising cost of materials and labor.

“We are going to have to cut about $166,000 to meet the financial obligation,” said Jones.

On Monday the commission approved the change and removed County Road 71 from the plans. Commissioner Pam Johnson said she wanted to apologize to the residents on the road and promised for the road to be patched and kept in good condition.

“The crews have done a great job on the road and I promise to add the road to next year’s plans. I appreciate your understanding and I am trying to do my best to keep all the roads in my district in good shape.”

Another change will be resurfacing a portion of County Road 87 from the original starting point to Wedowee Creek south.

In other business, the commission:

Approved draft legislation setting the coroner’s salary and benefits. The changes will not take affect until the next election cycle.

Approved a contract with Phillip Neighbors to draw up plans for the CDBG project at a cost of $6,000.

Approved the agreement with the county school system for school resource officers.

Approved for the chairman to execute documents for additional opiod settlements.

Approved to have JMR+H Architecture to include electrical items as quoted by Kirkland Electric for courthouse renovations in 2024.

Heard from Sheriff David Cofield there were 63 inmates in the county jail, 52 male and 11 female.

Approved six recommendations from the county safety committee to help with insurance rates.

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