At the Coffee County Commission meeting on Oct. 12, the commission received a petition to vacate a portion of Co. Rd. 411 and Coffee County EMA Director James Brown gave an update on both the damage the county saw from Hurricane Sally and the battle with COVID-19.
Brown said that the county was still waiting for a presidential declaration for the state – which would provide federal money for the county – but the preliminary damage assessment estimated the county suffered $763,951 worth of damage during the storm with the potential for that number to rise to over $1 million after all the county’s dirt roads are assessed.
Brown also addressed COVID-19 and said that Coffee County – much like other areas in the state – is once again seeing a rise in positive cases. After the county conducted 1,134 COVID-19 tests in the past two weeks, 184 of those tests came back positive, which is an average of 13 positive cases per day. That number is almost twice as much as the seven cases per day the county was seeing in September.
“We’re trending upwards again a little bit and I think a lot of that is due to pandemic fatigue,” Brown said. “As the pandemic continues people start to down play the harmful effects (of COVID-19). It’s a natural coping mechanism that happens all the time when it doesn’t affect a person a lot of times people tend to just forget about it.
“We’re trying to remind everyone that this is still out there and it’s still going on and it’s trending upwards because we aren’t paying as much attention.”
While the numbers are on the rise Coffee County remains a “moderate risk” area according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, because Coffee County is at 5.58 percent, which is still much better than the 16.3 percent Coffee County was at in July.
Commission chairman Dean Smith also pleaded with residents to continue wearing masks.
“This is the only tool we have to try and prevent (COVID-19),” Smith said. “I just wish people would take it seriously and wear their masks.”
In other business, the commission approved the sale of a surplus sheriff’s department vehicle to the Geneva County Sheriff’s Department. Also, the commission approved the sale of five dump trucks at JM Wood Auction, which guaranteed the county at least $753,000 for the trucks at the auction in March 2021. Also, the commission approved the sale of surplus bridge timbers.
The commission approved the purchase of five new dump trucks at the cost of $154,163 each and the purchase of a new road DuraPatcher at the cost of $67,369.
The commission also approved the purchase of two new “bat wing” bush hogs at the cost of $9,995 each.
The commission accepted a petition from adjacent landowners around Coffee County Road 411 to vacate approximately 760 feet of the dirt road outside Elba off Kinston Highway that travels to the old power and electric dam in Elba. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 9 where the landowners will formally present the petition to the commission.
The next Coffee County Commission meeting will be held on Oct. 26 in New Brockton at 9 a.m.