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Wyatt will use county aid to help buy siren

Friday, June 23, 2006

CHARLESTON -- Wyatt will take advantage of Mississippi County's offer to help municipalities in the county get tornado warning sirens.

Mississippi County commissioners approved a contribution of $2,500 toward a siren for Wyatt during their regular meeting Thursday.

"We will honor our deal with the city of Wyatt," said Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.

After approving a contribution of $2,500 toward the local match for Anniston's warning siren during their regular meeting June 15, commissioners agreed to make the same offer to other cities in the county.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development committed to providing 75 percent of the $18,000 total cost for Anniston's tornado siren, leaving a local match of $4,500.

Commissioner Homer Oliver said Wyatt already has a warning siren mounted on their water tower "but they said it's not very good."

Blumenberg said county officials will send a letter to Bertrand city officials advising of their intention to assist them with $2,500 toward a warning siren.

He said the siren slated to be put in at the county airport already has its funding arranged and that he doesn't think the Pinhook community will take the county up on its offer.

In other county business Thursday:

* Bill Feezor and Swayne Byrd were re-appointed to three-year terms on the county's Port Authority Board.

Commissioners also received an update on the port from Feezor.

"We've got power down to the port now," he said. "We're looking for a customer."

Feezor said the company leasing land at the port moved their operation elsewhere but the Port Authority can use about half of the land there without adjusting the rent for that company.

Oliver said access to three-phase electric power is important for industries that would be interested in port access and noted the port is also connected to the county's rural water district now.

"At least if someone comes along that will be two hurdles you don't have to clear again," he said.

Feezor also said the Port Authority Board is having problems with trees growing on the river bank.

"We don't know what to do about it," he said. "I don't know how much it would take to clean it up."

Oliver suggested spraying each tree individually from the bottom up.

"Spray about three feet," he said. "They'll die and they'll be gone."

* Blacktopping for Wyatt is complete for this year, although Blumenberg believes the municipality "needs a lot more."

County road and bridge crews will be on vacation June 29-July 10, after which they will begin putting sealing oil on Wyatt's roads, Blumenberg said. He later added that Wyatt could use about 5,000 gallons of sealing oil.

Blumenberg also suggested county officials may ask a couple of crew members to work two or three days during that period, however, "because we've got some gravel roads in bad shape that need to be graded."

In other road maintenance discussion, Commissioner Martin Lucas said County Road 411 and County Road 408 would be good locations to try some more chip-and-seal.

Blumenberg said he thinks there is at least 20 miles of county roads that need sealing oil.

"We need to seal a whole lot of roads," he said.

Blumenberg said sealing the roads now may extend the blacktop's life another three years.

In other business related to the road and bridge department, Blumenberg suggested that they may not replace the department's latest crew loss.

"I just don't think we could afford it," he said.

Blumenberg said he would prefer to authorize overtime for existing crew members.

"It might be better with the way the funds are to hold off and just make do," he said.

Blumenberg also brought up an idea to help officials stretch the county's road and bridge budget.

"We need a traffic flow counter to go on roads," he said.

Blumenberg said the county will then have traffic count statistics so they can objectively decide "whether there's enough traffic to justify spending money" on a particular road.

The counter could also help officials determine if other road maintenance, such as grading for gravel roads, is needed, he said.

Oliver said traffic counts could help them decide whether to use chip-and-

seal or cold-mix blacktop overlays.

Blumenberg said he would like to purchase the traffic counter this year.

* County Clerk Junior DeLay said Cathy Walters, community development specialist for Rural Development, advised they can't get around the prevailing wage requirement for the construction of a county equipment shed while using a RD low-interest loan.