Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
During the regular meeting of the Madison County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, Nov. 8, the Commissioners voted to enter into a contract with Ralph Gray for the purchase of approximately 67 acres of surplus property adjacent to the Madison County Recreation Park. This had been a topic of discussion at the previous meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 25. At that time, it was decided to re-visit the issue. Those land owners who owned land adjacent to the surplus property had been contacted to see if any of them would be interested in purchasing the property. Gray was the only person responding at the time with an offer of $1,100 per acre. During the meeting on Oct. 25, another citizen expressed possible interest in the property. A public hearing will be held at a later date before the transaction is finalized.
During the citizen participation portion of the meeting, Joan Keene addressed the Board about the possibility of placing speed bumps on Hickory Grove Rd. Lonnie Thigpen, Road Department Coordinator, informed the Board that Hickory Grove Rd. did not qualify for speed bumps, per Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Keene also inquired about the possibility of placing a Sheriff's Department sub-station at the old “Betty's Bar” location. Sheriff Ben Stewart said he would love to be able to have a sub-station at several locations around the county, but it would not be financially practical. Stewart did say there had been increased patrols in the area in order to decrease speeding incidents.
Thigpen also addressed the Board about the possible conveyance of a DOT barrow pit to Madison County. The location is in the southwest corner of Madison County, on the Madison County/Taylor County line. The issue was tabled until further investigation could be done to determine if the property extends into Taylor County. There was a brief discussion regarding a letter from the Aucilla Area Solid Waste Administration. Solid Waste Coordinator Jerome Wyche informed the Board that the county was in compliance in terms of the waste material being taken to the landfill site.
Madison County Emergency Management Director Alan Whigham approached the Commissioners requesting $2,942 to be drawn from fire reserves in order to purchase traffic cones for the volunteer fire departments. It was determined these cones are needed after the recent Hurricane Irma. The request was granted by the Commissioners by a unanimous vote.
Mike Holdren was appointed to the District 2 seat for the Planning and Zoning Board. There is currently a vacancy for District 4 on the Planning and Zoning Board. Anyone interested in filling this seat should contact Jeanne Bass at (850) 973-3179.
Butch Galbraith from the Florida Forest Service addressed the Board with his annual report. Over the last year, there were 64 fires that burned a total of 625 acres. One fire alone, in the San Pedro Bay burned over 500 acres.
The next meeting of the Madison County Board of County Commissioners will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Madison County Courthouse Annex, located at 229 SW Pickney St., in Madison.