Commission approves four road closures, new county seals

Published 9:15 am Friday, December 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Covington County Commission approved four road closures following a public hearing and adopted new seals for the county at its final meeting of the year on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

County Engineer Lynn Ralls stated that the commission was petitioned to close Toucan Road.

“Toucan Road is on U.S. Highway 29 off Sims Road. The county has never maintained this road, although it was identified as a public road on maps. 911 has it on record as being a public road, and it’s not a public road,” Ralls said.

Citizen Nikki Garrett stated Toucan Road is “technically” the driveway to her residence.

“There is not a way to access Bill McClain’s property from that road unless he is going to be on an ATV. I have spoken to the Department of Transportation (DOT), and they will permit a driveway from Highway 29 as long as he calls them. It ends at my house, and I have already spent over $5,000 to have gravel put in on that road. You could not drive down that road when it rained,” Garrett said in response to questioning about other landowners that accessed their property via Toucan Road.

In addition, Ralls proposed the closing of Starflower, Perry, and Jackson Roads in response to petitions to close them.

“Starflower Road is on Highway 55 South near Five Runs Creek. The state highway department has been working on plans to replace that bridge. The state had a concern with the ramping and point of access closest to the bridge. The state contacted my office and requested closing that road off. I’m not closing the actual road but instead closing the point of access to 55. Perry Road is located right on the Florida line between Yellow River and our public dirt road Walker Road. The one landowner who owns all the property contacted me because 911 does not show any record of this as a public road. Jackson Road is located near the South community in Red Level that parallels County Road 21 and Beasley Road. It is a little connector between both those roads and is only about 300 feet long,” Ralls said.

The commission approved all four closures by a unanimous vote.

“There are no additional legal steps needed beyond this. Your vote, the closure, and a notification of closure will suffice for these road closures,” County Attorney Morgan Arrington said.

Rev. Commissioner Chuck Patterson thanked the county’s citizens for paying their property taxes. He also reminded those over age 65 to stop by his office and apply for property tax exemptions.

The commission adopted a set of three new Covington County seals as proposed.

This Covington County Commission logo was adopted during a meeting held on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Additional logos representing the arena, road department, and Point A Park were adopted but have not been finalized.

“We have added the year the county was established to the seal. That is something we are proud of, and we would like to have it on there. The emblem for the road department has a few changes to it. The third seal is for Point A Park, and we have asked modifications from the state in order to pinpoint Covington County. The emblems are used on the door of county vehicles, on county employees’ business cards, through correspondence on county letterhead, and are also used to recognize the commission when we partner with someone,” Administrator Karen Sowell said.

In other business:

  • The commission approved a resolution implementing portions of Amendment 909 as discussed in a previous meeting.
  • The commission approved out-of-state travel for two sheriff’s deputies to attend an interview course in Pensacola. Commission policy states that any out-of-state travel by County officials or employees must be approved by the commission at an open meeting.
  • The commission discussed contracting for the purchase of Southern Software for records management in the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Blake Turman said the software needs to be compatible with E-911 and the Andalusia and Opp Police Departments. No action was taken on the matter, and additional discussions will take place at a future meeting.
  • The commission approved a request from the sheriff to purchase extra storage for the housing of equipment for a Bearcat armored vehicle.
  • The commission awarded a bid for two new patrol vehicles to be purchased from Step One Automotive. The two vehicles are 2023 Dodge Durango models at a cost of $43,969 each. Three bids were received.
  • The commission approved the funding for a joint project with the City of Andalusia for sealing and striping parking lots that serve events at the Kiwanis and Arena buildings by a 3-1 vote. Dist. 1 commissioner Kenneth Northey, Dist. 2 commissioner Michael Smith, and Dist. 4 commissioner Tommy McGaha all voted yes. Dist. 3 commissioner Lynne Holmes voted no.
  • The commission discussed proposed revisions to the floodplain management plan. This program is managed in conjunction with ADECA (state) and FEMA (federal). No action was taken on the matter, due to the need for further review by the engineer and attorney. Chairman Greg White said the item would be listed on the agenda at the first meeting in January.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.