By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
When it rains, it pours in the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Not that this has been a problem lately with the extended drought, but the building that houses the Madison County Sheriff’s Office “has some pretty serious leaks,” said County Coordinator Allen Cherry.
Cherry presented the Madison County Commission with two options for the roof: the first, repairing the roof, would cost an estimated $1500-$2000; the second, replacing the roof altogether, would run about $15,000 to $20,000.
In making a case for the a new roof, Cherry cited the age and condition of the current one, adding that, “it has already been repaired and repaired and repaired.”
The Commission voted unanimously in favor of the new roof. The next step will be going through the building department to draw up specifications for the re-roofing project and putting it out for bids.
Another measure that got unanimous approval was an additional weekend ambulance crew. The cost and coverage of the additional crew was to come from usage fees from the current level of ambulance service.
“The weekends are our busiest times,” said Madison County EMS Director Juan Botino, who appeared before the Board with EMS worker Lisa Jordan to seek approval for the action. The additional crew would expand ambulance coverage to 17 hours on Friday, 24 hours on Saturday, and 19 hours on Sunday. The third crew would consist of part time EMS workers, and so would not cost the county anything as far as additional benefits packages. “The ideal would be a third crew operating 24/7,” said Botino. “But this is a start.”
Another item related to emergency vehicles was the deteriorated condition of NE Papaya Street and NE Pentas Street. The dirt roads are basically “pig trails” as described by Road Department Supervisor Red Henderson, with washout problems and overgrown bushes on either side encroaching the roadway and threatening to choke it off. Such conditions pose significant difficulty for ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles that need to reach the subdivision served by the roads, a group of about 15-20 houses.
However, the roads are private, and using public money to maintain them, even to make them minimally passable for emergency vehicles, would be problematic. There are a number of subdivisions in the county that predate the current ordinances regarding the maintenance of private roadways, and “if we do for one, we’ll have to do it for another,” Commission Chair Renetta Parrish pointed out.
The county has several such subdivisions that predate current ordinance concerning the maintenance of private roads. County Attorney Tom Reeves advised the Commission to create a standard policy and come up with a list of criteria that could apply to all similar situations in the county before going ahead with the measure for Papaya and Pentas.
Thus, the measure for the two roads failed 4/1, but the commission agreed to re-agenda the item of Pentas and Papaya for the next meeting, when they could discuss the bigger problem of private subdivision roads throughout the county and what policies and criteria could be put in pace for dealing with them.