In regards to voting poll changes, Mr. Johnny McCallister was once again present at the Jackson County Commission work session to question the commission about a taxation bill from 1950 that allowed a population less than 50,000 could be taxed, with those funds designated to Highlands Medical Center.

McCallister argued there were 53,000 recorded in Jackson County in the 2010 census, and he questioned the legality to still be taxing the population of the county if the numbers had exceeded the first-established 50,000. County Attorney John Porter explained to McCallister that the population requirement was for the time the election occurred and would not apply today. McCallister was present at last week’s meeting where he presented an argument against moving the Christian Home polls to Flat Rock and proposed the county divert some of the funding received by Highlands Medical Center to provide the funds needed to keep his poll station open. The commission explained the distribution of revenue from taxes designated to Highlands was not under their authority and referred him to Legislative Delegation.
Each year, Jackson County Council On Aging (C.O.A) applies for a grant application with ALDOT for their transportation program. The commission also received a resolution for local matching funds. These funds are allocated before the budget. Commission Chairman Tim Guffey stated the budget may need to be adjusted to allow for the funds needed to match the grant. The Commission moved this item to the next meeting for consideration.
Sanitation truck needs were addressed as the Commission considered requests to place bids on new trucks. The concern is the trucks currently owned by the county are old with high mileage. The trucks to be considered would be 1/2-ton to 3/4-ton. Trucks with 4 wheel drive will also be favored, as those will better serve the county and will have a better resale value when they need to be replaced. The sooner the county is able to replace the trucks, the higher their value, allowing more funds to come back in. This item was moved to the June 4th agenda.
At least two illegal dumping site cameras were considered to enable the county and local law enforcement to be informed when someone is illegally dumping garbage at popular spots. Signs would be posted, and the two cameras would be moved around to different popular dumping sites. Specs, cost and logistics were discussed as to what kind of cameras would best serve the county. Jackson County Deputy Rocky Harnen explained the need for cameras with WiFi capability that would allow live feed and data storage off site, so that even if the perpetrator destroyed the device, law enforcement would be able to see them do it and be better able to identify them later with the evidence from the stored data. They would also have a better chance of catching the people dumping if they are aware of the crime happening in real time. Illegal dumping carries a hefty fine of up to $500 for just your first offense. This item was moved to the next agenda.
County Engineer Jonathan Campbell was present to discuss the EA2 position at Public Works. Campbell provided the commissioners with results from the applicants interviewed. The Commission moved this item to the next agenda, pending review of interview results and selection. Campbell also gave an update on the status of road repairs. After FEMA formally assesses the damages, the process can begin for repairs. County Road 17 will be funded by emergency relief from the Federal Highway Administration, which will fund the geotechnical testing and evaluation of the roads and surrounding land. This process began last week. After the results from the testing come in, the county will know which direction to go as far as the best way to repair the road. Campbell stated, “This complexity of this damage is beyond simple slides. It’s very specialized techniques to repair a lot of these possibilities. Before these contractors feel comfortable with offering up a solution, they want details about what’s going on there, and unfortunately it’s expensive, and the only way to identify that (the type of damage) are those complicated techniques that we’re into now on some of this. The cash flow’s going to enter into this situation on being able to keep the contractor working while waiting on reimbursement from FEMA. I think the worst thing we can do is a knee-jerk reaction to make a repair that’s not substantial and permanent.” Campbell reported the paving on County Road 59 is complete, cured and striping should have already taken place last week.
The last item on the agenda was a discussion of budgeting issues. Guffey stated, “We’ve got some trying times coming up. We’re going to have to make some hard decisions. I have set up a meeting time for the 29th of this month at 10 a.m. to have a pre-budget hearing so that way everybody knows what it is.”
The commissioners are looking forward to working together on the budget.

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