WEDOWEE - At Monday's meeting of Randolph County Commission, Shelley House of Nextsoft addressed the commission concerning cyber security for the county's computer systems.
The program through the company would monitor computer activity and determine which employees are putting the system at risk. "We will provide training and education for the employees online, and we can even include county policies," House said. "With all the computers you have, you need layer upon layer of security. And this is not just for employees but your vendors too. We would develop an action plan like we have done for many other counties and municipalities, offer incident response and a plan for recovery. We also offer a $25,000 warranty."
After sharing the figures for the monitoring and training, Chairman Doyle Allen said the commission would study the program and make a decision later. "I know we have got to do something because there is so much out there right now that can shut us down. We don't need any problems like we had last year. This is for protection of the employees and the county. If our computer system goes down for any reason, we are out of business till they are up and running again," the chairman said.
Budget amendment for development authority
At Thursday's workshop meeting, Bryant Whaley, director of Randolph County Economic Development Authority, gave a report to the commission on the activities of the authority in the past year. Whaley said the authority hosted several workshops and meetings, including the Business Appreciation Luncheon, Small Business Expo, Roanoke teachers tours of industries, new social media sites and many others. He went on to say the hotel feasibility study came back positive and many industries and businesses are expanding, such as a new Dollar General north of Wedowee. He said other department stores had visited the county and gave positive reviews. He noted Jim Triplett had joined the board as a new member. In closing, Whaley asked the commission for a $5,000 contribution to the authority to renew the retail business contract.
Chairman Allen stated the commission appreciates what the authority has done. He said Randolph County is known around the state and the county is coming together to work as one.
In Monday's meeting, the commission approved amending the budget to give the authority the $5,000 that was requested. Commissioner Lathonia Wright abstained from the vote and said he is concerned the amendment might put a strain on the general fund later in the year.
New office space
Chairman Allen said he met with the architect about changes for additional office space at the old medical arts building. "With the changes, we may run into additional cost," Allen said. Plans are for the Extension Service and the county engineer's office to move into the building. "I think we just need to put the project on hold and find out if there is any additional cost." The project is being paid for by the capital improvement fund and not from the county general fund.
Commissioner Larry Roberts was absent from Monday's meeting due to sickness, but in Thursday's workshop brought up a resolution to honor Southern gospel group Witness 4 Him of Wedowee for their accomplishments. He also said he wants to make it clear that dips and bumps between Levens Chapel and Caver's Grove are being caused by water leaks that not have not been repaired by the water authority and not the county highway department.
Commissioner Wright stated he is concerned about loggers on County Road 823 near Dickert. Wright asked County Engineer Burrell Jones to monitor the situation.
Commissioner Derek Farr expressed appreciation to all volunteer fire departments for their work during the severe weather on Saturday. "They do this on their own time, and they are always there when they are needed." Chairman Allen echoed Farr's comments and also commended the EMA office staff and the sheriff's department for their work during the weekend.
Commissioner Terry Lovvorn stated he has a concern about no centerlines on a number of county roads including County Road 1, County Road 15 and County Road 33 during rainy and foggy weather. He said he wants the engineer to continue working on some funds for those projects. Lovvorn gave an update on County Road 87 work. Pipes are currently being installed, and the speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour. "We have got to look for more money to continue the work," he said.
In other business, the commission:
- Accepted a low bid of $8,864 monthly for a fiber network system. The other bid received was in the amount of $9,443 from CenturyLink. Chairman Allen noted each different department would share the monthly cost. He said he hopes the monthly cost would not start until after the new budget is passed.
- Tabled any action on quotes to center stripe County Road 47 at a cost of $5,510 and County Road 25 at a cost of $8,323. The quotes were obtained at the request of Commissioner Roberts.
- Agreed to seek local legislation after an Attorney General's opinion concerning the use of hospital sales tax money for indigent medical care.
- Approved a request from Woodland Youth Association to allow the county highway department to truck field material to the association's practice field.
- Met in executive session for 25 minutes to discuss the good name and character of an individual. Following the session, Allen asked the engineer to monitor the situation at the county landfill.
- Authorized the chairman and chief financial officer to obtain a loan for a 2021 Mack lowboy tractor with First Bank.
- Declared the 1994 Mack truck tractor surplus.
- Announced the courthouse and annex will be closed Monday, Jan. 20, for Martin Luther King Day.
- Asked county citizens to check on the county social media page for information on the hours of operation of the county landfill.