Horn Hill resident addresses commission on inoperable traffic light

Published 9:15 am Saturday, January 13, 2024

The Covington County Commission heard comments about an inoperable Horn Hill traffic light and also received severe weather updates from Monday night at its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Citizen Zollie Hudson, who also serves as a councilman for Horn Hill, addressed the commission with concerns of an inoperable traffic light in his town.

“The light at Horn Hill Road and what used to be the old Horn Hill Grocery has not worked since September. There are three county roads that intersect and five points altogether. I contacted the Engineer’s Office at that time and am just concerned because the traffic in the area has probably doubled or tripled since the light was installed years ago. I don’t know if it’s just bulbs or flashers, but the cost to fix that is minimal compared to a life. I would like to see if we can get this one fixed and working,” Hudson said.

According to Chairman Greg White, conversation regarding the matter has taken place with the Engineer’s Office.

“We understand and are aware of the issue. We will attempt to make a decision on how we can proceed and what is most desirable from an efficiency standpoint. We are primarily concerned with safety,” White said.

“We are supposed to receive a report from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama in Montgomery on all aspects of the issue. I talked with your mayor earlier this morning and told him I would deliver it to you. We will see what we need to do as a county and have more information to go by. I know it’s a concern and a dangerous intersection, so I hope we can get it worked out and do something for the best of everybody concerned,” Dist. 3 Commissioner Lynne Holmes said.

Covington County Economic Development Commission Vice President Jacob Morgan also spoke to the commission.

“I believe one area we have a lot of potential for is forestry. We have so many surplus trees. There are a lot of people looking to start up different types of mills, and 60 percent of costs today are logistic-related. It would be really good to have a mill here, and it would pay off well for our area. A mill would bring really good jobs for our citizens that range from $15 to $25 an hour starting out. About 40 or 50 of those (jobs) would be great for this area,” Morgan said.

Covington County EMA Director Susan Harris gave an update on damages in the area following Monday night’s severe weather.

“(Covington County EMA Deputy Director) Frank (Shaffer) and I divided time throughout the night. We were under a tornado watch at 8:30 Monday night, so he came in with the Sheriff and other individuals. We had our first call at 6:30 Tuesday morning, and (County Engineer) Lynn (Ralls) and I have been using our new dispatch system that is working really well. I think we had 17 events we were working, which were trees down and power lines down. The ones we are working on now pertain to power lines,” Harris said.

Harris added that Covington Electric would be working on some major issues throughout the county as a result of the storm.

“These issues will take a while to resolve. One was at Shady Grove Road where they are having the most problems. We have had no structures that were damaged or reported, but that was the grace we had last night. Other than that, everything went smoothly, and we are no longer under watches and warnings. We are dealing with the impact right now, and the Engineer’s Office has done an excellent job along with our county volunteer fire departments getting trees cleared.”

In other business:

  • The commission approved entering a contract with Southern Software for records management in the Sheriff’s Office. Turman said the software would be compatible with E-911 and the Andalusia and Opp Police Departments.
  • 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, and further discussion will take place at a future meeting.
  • The commission discussed a contract with school resource officers through the Covington County Board of Education. Turman said two officers were recently added with one at Straughn and a second at Florala High School. No action was taken, and further discussion will take place at a future meeting.
  • The commission approved a one-time appropriation of $5,000 to the Covington Historical Society.
  • The commission approved the solicitation of bids for a new Internet-based phone system in county offices. Director of Information Technology Eric Jernigan stated the current system has been in place since 2011.
  • The commission approved the acceptance of a donation of a 2018 Chevrolet Crew Cab from PowerSouth to be used in the Sheriff’s Department.
  • The commission approved the purchase of a 2024 Ford F-150 to be used at the Covington County Jail.
  • The commission approved out-of-state travel for four jail personnel to attend a conference in Savannah, Georgia, for three nights in March by a 2-1 vote. Dist. 1 commissioner Kenneth Northey and Dist. 4 commissioner Tommy McGaha both voted yes. Holmes voted no. The conference is free, but Sheriff Turman will pay for hotel rooms out of discretionary funds. 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 accepted a Fiscal Year 2023 County Rebuild Alabama annual report as presented by Engineer Lynn Ralls, which reflected approximately $2.5 million in completed projects.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.