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County commissioners enact ordinance against fracking

The Madison Board of County Commissioners gathered on Wednesday, March 9 at 9 a.m. at the Madison County Extension Office due to early voting in the board meeting room of the Courthouse Annex.

The first item on the agenda under new business was a request for Resolution 2015-03-11 regarding fracking to be enacted as an ordinance. Gale Dickert took to the podium and thanked the board of commissioners for all they have done in the fight to ban fracking in Madison County. “Now, 75 percent of Florida's population has passed resolutions or ordinances to ban fracking in Florida,” said Dickert. “Thank you to our board, to Representative Halsey Beshears and Senator Bill Montford for their support.” Dickert stressed the importance of focusing on renewable energy, as fracking is keeping the state of Florida from moving forward with renewable resources.

After Dickert wrapped up her speech, the board voted to enact the resolution banning fracking as an ordinance. There will be a hearing regarding this ordinance at another meeting.

Next, Robin Riley of Brown & Brown presented the update of county employee health insurance and claims report. The board approved this update unanimously.

Donnell Davis took to the podium next to ask the board to approve a road closure for SW Bentley Street for an event on March 27. The board approved Davis' request.

The board shifted off of new business for a moment and began to go over the Public Work Department reports. Lonnie Thigpen informed the board that SW Apopka Trail and SW Apollo Trail are inaccessible to emergency service vehicles and the debris blocking the path is unable to be moved because the two roads are private. After much discussion, the board agreed to have a workshop on how to handle this issue.

Next, Thigpen brought the board up-to-date on the existing road projects. The paving of Wonderwood and Morris Steen Road have been completed and there are several road paving projects going to take place in the summer.

The board then approved a request by Public Works to purchase a new model truck from Langdale Ford. The truck is under a five year lease and will be used as an addition to the two trucks already used by the department. The board approved this request.

To wrap up the Public Works reports, Thigpen informed the board that Greenville had applied for a grant to pave Grand Street and SW Main Street and interlocal agreements between Madison County and the Town of Greenville needed to be approved. These two interlocal agreements were approved.

Alan Whigham of Madison County Emergency Management asked the board to approve a request from the Fire Board for all call programming for volunteer fire department radios. All call radios would allow dispatch to call out to all of the county's fire departments all at one time rather than individually, making it easier to reach all eight of the volunteer fire departments during an emergency. The board approved this request. The radios of all of the fire departments will be reprogrammed.

The board approved a request to purchase a portion of county property on Timber River Road and final bid numbers for Sirmans Public Safety Building.

The next county commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse Annex.

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