The Board of County Commissioners gathered together on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. with a small agenda but much to discuss. Petitions from the public were presented first. A citizen came forward asking the commissioners to consider changing State Road 53 to Joe Peavy Hwy in honor of Joe Peavy, who has served as sheriff of Madison County for 28 years. This request was approved 4-0. Town Attorney Tom Reeves informed the commissioners that the Clerk of Court needs to write a letter about the highway name change to the Legislature in order to get this request approved.
Department reports were discussed next. Susan Mohnen, president of the Garden Club and Gail Dickert announced that House Bill 191, a bill approving fracking, went before the House on Tuesday, Jan. 26. All 24 amendments against the fracking bill were voted down. The fracking bill will be forwarded to the Senate and Dickert and Mohnen urged the commissioners to express their concerns to the Senate. Mohnen asked the board on behalf of the Garden Club to decline the bill. The board approved this request 4-0.
Next on the agenda as of department reports, Noah Valenstein of the Suwannee River Water Management District came forward and introduced himself to the commissioners, announcing that he was the new executive director for the Suwannee River Water Management District. Commissioner Alfred Martin told Valenstein that the commissioners look forward to working with him.
The Public Works department asked the commissioners next to review and approve of bids for the resurfacing of Highway 53 South. The board approved the bids unanimously. The Public Works department also announced that the filling of the sinkhole on Celosia Drive is going well.
In new business, County Coordinator Allen Cherry informed the board of commissioners that Madison County Correctional Institution put in a request for a two-acre garden behind the emergency operations center, as they are concerned about erosion. The board approved this unanimously.
Alan Whigham took the floor next and asked the board of commissioners to approve his request to put a storm warning system at Madison County High School. Whigham informed the board that Emergency Management and the Madison County School Board had paired up to get the storm warming system up off the ground. The costs of installation and networking are covered and Whigham let the commissioners know the $5,000 cost of equipment can be covered by Emergency Management. This warning system would be beneficial to the county and would cover the radius of MCCS, MCHS, the recreation park, Madison Academy and other nearby areas. The system is an audible alarm that detects how many miles away a storm is. If a storm is detected, the alarm will sound off and everyone in the surrounding area can get to safety if anyone is out in the open. The board of commissioners approved Whigham's request unanimously.
The next county commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse Annex.