County Commission

Coffee County Commissioners were sworn into office last week. Pictured, from left, are Probate Judge Jodee Thompson, District 5 Commissioner Jimmy Jones, District 4 Commissioner Frank Britt, District 7 Commissioner Tom Grimsley, District 1 Commissioner and Chairman Dean Smith, District 3 Commissioner Josh Carnley and District 6 Commissioner Jim Thompson. Not pictured is District 2 Commissioner Kim Ellis.

Before the Nov. 11, Coffee County Commission meeting, Probate Judge Jodee Thompson swore the commissioners into office.

All of Coffee County’s incumbent commissioners returned to office as everyone but Chairman Dean Smith ran unopposed. Smith won reelection over Hilton Morgan III.

At the meeting, the commission reelected Smith to continue serving as chairman and also elected to continue holding monthly meetings on the second and fourth Monday of each month.

The commission also approved a resolution to enter an agreement with the Town of New Brockton to match funds that the state has provided for the county in a grant for sewer and pipe at the site of the future Ben E. Keith Foods plant. The state awarded the county $827,000 and New Brockton and the county will provide an additional $164,050 to match those funds.

The Coffee County Sheriff’s Office also recently received a $24,000 grant from the state to purchase a TruNarc drug analyzer. The entire cost will be $31,300, so the county approved the additional $7,300 for the purchase of the device. The drug analyzer will allow sheriff’s officers to analyze suspected narcotics on the spot rather than being forced to ship them off to a lab.

Additionally, the commission approved the sale of a surplus jail van and miscellaneous items from the sheriff’s office.

The commission approved the county to accept bids for front axel repair of a dump truck at the Coffee County Landfill with an estimated cost of $20,000.

The commission approved the county’s involvement in creating the Wiregrass Trail Partnership that will explore the possibility and options of potentially taking part in the Rails to Trails program in Coffee County.

Rails to Trails is a national program that helps to transform abandoned railroad tracks into walking or jogging paths.

The commission also approved a renewal of an agency agreement with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.

The commission accepted a bid of $22,213.72 from Gulf Atlantic Culvert for the purchase of aluminized corrugated pipe. The commission also approved the county to accept bids for inventory stock of polymer coated corrugated meal pipe.

The commission’s next meeting will be held on Nov. 23 at 9 a.m. at the Coffee County Complex.

Coffee County EMA Director James Brown also offered an update on COVID-19 in the county. He said that in the past two weeks the county’s cases have dropped from 18 cases per day to 16 cases per day, but warned not to consider that necessarily as a trend.

“Just to show how quick those things change, (Nov. 10) we have 38 new cases,” Brown said. “Those numbers dance back and forth all the time. People just need to pay attention to it and make sure we’re doing things we need to do.”

Brown said that the county is coordinating with the Alabama Department of Public Health on the potential new COVID-19 vaccine that is expected to be released in the coming months. Brown said that the county will work with the state to set up locations for vaccines to be administered. He warned, though, that the vaccine would likely not become available for the general public until the spring.

“I really think we’re going to give to the healthcare workers and first responders first and then work our way down,” Brown said. “I personally don’t see this coming until the spring time to be able to open it up for the general public.

“During that time we’re going to have to really show that this thing is a good vaccine and that people should get it because we don’t expect a whole bunch of people to get it. About 44 percent of people in Alabama currently get the flu shot. The more people that get the vaccine the quicker we get out of this, though.’

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