Jackson County Commission Chairman Bill Nance recently sat down and spoke with us about what’s happening in Jackson County.Nance reported that this year, as part of the Local Roads Program, 20.7 miles of roads were identified to be repaved. Nance states that currently the projects are 38 percent complete. Paving has been completed on County Road 156, County Road 366, County Road 476, County Road 459, County Road 189 and Hytop Circle. Paving preparations are in the works and paving is expected to begin and be completed by November on County Road 3, County Road 303, County Road 142, County Road 104, County Road 170, County Road 159 and County Road 437. Nance also reported that a grant was received from the State of Alabama to pave 2.1 miles on County Road 19, and the paving is in progress. Nance announced that as part of next year’s program, County Road 21, from outside of the 5-Points area in Scottsboro to Pikeville Store, will have preservation work done.
Nance stated that although the bridge work on County Road 19 took longer than expected, the repair is now complete and the bridge recently passed inspection.
As part of the 2019 slope failures, Jackson County applied for a local program with FEMA support and the slope failures were declared a natural disaster. This allows Jackson County to proceed with required repairs from the General Fund and be partially reimbursed by FEMA. As a result of this program, County Road 38 had a geotech analysis, engineering and design work completed. The Commission recently approved to proceed with the repairs at a cost of $2.3 million. Nance stated that County Road 93 has had a geotech analysis, engineering work and design work completed. However, the county is awaiting a cost analysis before proceeding.
As previously reported, Jackson County has taken advantage of the Alabama Transportation’s bank program, allowing the county to borrow against the Rebuild Alabama funds to accelerate infrastructure projects in the county. The $4.5 million loan funds were recently deposited and will draw interest at a rate of 3.5 percent. The 15-year loan annual debt service will cost Jackson County $400,000 per year and will be paid for by the Rebuild Alabama allocation. However, $700,000 will be remaining from the Rebuild Alabama Funds each year and will also be used for road and bridge repair. Nance reported that in addition to these funds, State and Federal Grants will also be pursued.
In addition to road grants, Jackson County Public Works was recently awarded two grants totaling $300,000. The first grant in the amount of $150,000 was awarded to clean up unauthorized dump sites. Since receiving the grant, Jackson County workers have cleaned up four dump sites and hope to clean up many more over the next three years with grant money.
The final grant received, in the amount of $150,000, is part of the Scrap Tire Right of Way Program by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. This grant allows the county to remove tires from roadsides. It also authorizes Solid Waste to take in old tires from citizens. However, it does not allow for contractors or businesses to bring tires to Solid Waste for disposal.
Nance asks that citizens report any unauthorized dump sites that need cleaned or any scrap tires that need picked up by calling 256-259-2820.
Recently, the Alabama Department of Economics and Community Affairs conducted a survey to develop state and county broadband profile. Areas surveyed included availability, use of federal subsidity’s, adaptation and speed availability. Jackson County outperformed the state in five of the six areas. Nance credits and thanks Scottsboro Power Board, Farmers Electric Cooperative and the North Alabama Electric Cooperative for the work they have done to ensure the citizens of Jackson County have broadband availability.
Jackson County recently reached out to Google regarding seniors and low income computer access. Nance reported that Google agreed to award a grant to Jackson County to help with those issues. Google will soon be placing computer labs in each of the six senior centers in Jackson County. In addition, Nance states that the service providers for the Jackson County area have agreed to assist in use training and computer skills for those labs.
Nance ended by stating, “We have a lot of great things going on in Jackson County. I want to also thank the Commission and the County employees for all of their hard work and dedication.”