Committee earmarks $3M for river dredging

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 26, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

For industries that rely on the river to import and export goods, the navigability of rivers is essential.

On Wednesday, March 22, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, of which Sen. Richard Shelby is a member, has recognized that fact and has earmarked $3 million for the dredging of the Alabama-Coosa River System.

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“I hope we will be able to develop some more industry in Dallas County that sits on the Alabama River,” said Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard during Monday’s county commission meeting. “This river has not been dredged since ’05.”

New Gas Concepts, which is currently under construction off River Road, will be one of the operations to benefit from the appropriation if approved by the Senate. The company plans to invest $135 million in Dallas County. Transporting their product by truck to Mobile, rather than by waterway, would cost an additional $9 million a year.

“If the Alabama-Coosa can achieve full operational status, jobs and industry will follow,” Shelby stated in a press release. “The Alabama-Coosa River runs through an economically depressed area of the state in serious need of industry and good-paying jobs.”

Ballard reported bids for the construction of the Youth Detention Center “were higher than we expected” due to some items included by the architect that are not required by the Department of Youth Services.

“The low bidder was Lovelady Construction and the architects have been meeting ever since last Tuesday, trying to whittle it down to something that we can afford and I think we’ll get there,” Ballard said.

The commissioners have reported receiving several phone calls regarding the county’s ongoing litter problem. Ballard brought a sample litter ordinance before the commission at the March 12 meeting and asked that they review it as the first step in adopting an ordinance for Dallas County.

“Judges in the past really couldn’t prosecute anybody because there was not a law on the books against that,” Ballard said.

Ashvin Parikh of the Dallas County Health Department came before the Commission thanking them for past support and reminding them of efforts to prepare a Flu Pandemic plan for the county.

The next Flu Pandemic meeting is scheduled for April 13 at 10 a.m. at the Dallas County Health Department.

Parikh also announced the Health Department will be having a Public Health Day on Tuesday, April 3 from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Anybody can come,” Parikh said.

Ballard reported he has been getting calls about mosquito control.

“We are prepared to do battle with the infamous blood suckers in April,” said Larry Friday, director of the Selma-Dallas County Environmental Services & Vector Control.

EMA Director Pam Cook introduced Glenys Dukes as the new EMA Administrative Assistant.

“She’s brings a lot of experience,” Cook said.

In other business:

Jim Minor Garden Homes insurance premium quote for $45,508.68 was approved.

February invoices and a January addendum for County Attorney John Kelly were approved.

Two claims against the county regarding vehicle windshield damage went unapproved. Commissioner Connell Towns made a motion to approve, which went without a second.

The commission approved the request to allow George E. Jones, county engineer, to acquire lease quotes for new dump trucks.

The commission approved the leasing of the Gibbs Phillips Gravel Pit and the renewing of the one-year, $500 lease for the pit’s access road easement.

The $39,470.75 pipe bid for an estimated six-month quantity of concrete pipe from Hansen Pipe Company was approved.

The Commission agreed to accept a confidentiality agreement with ALDOT.