The DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday changed the process of how the county proceeds with damage claims from residents.

County Engineer Ben Luther said his department will begin taking the initial calls and assess the claims.

“I initiated a new procedure for evaluating road department damage claims,” Luther said. “Throughout the majority of the state, the county engineer heads the road departments, and typically, the first call from the insurance company when they receive a claim is to me.”

Beginning on April 1, 2019, Luther said the engineering department started the new system. After receiving a call, either Luther or Irby Wallace, the assistant engineer, will go to the site and evaluate the damage.

“I’ve created a form that I will fill out and provide with the damage claim that goes to the insurance that details our findings and whether or not we believe the claim to be legitimate and why,” he said.

Luther said the new procedure will allow the county to provide as much information as possible up front to the insurance companies, instead of the older, longer process that consisted of many more phone calls and questions.

“Hopefully, this way we’ll be more involved and know what’s happening and actually be able to go out and put eyes on it and evaluate what that request is,” he said.

On Tuesday, the commission approved two damage claims that were evaluated under the new system. Janet Bearden filed a claim that a tire on her vehicle was busted on County Road 846 from large chert rocks in the road, and Dustin White’s vehicle sustained damage from liquid asphalt on County Road 570 from crews patching the roadway.

Both claims were approved to be forwarded to the county’s insurance company.

Visit for more information on the engineering department, including contact phone numbers.

The commission also:

• approved the hire of Terry Wadsworth as a temporary employee.

• approved to award the engineering department’s annual Asphalt Material Bid for the remainder of the fiscal year to Reed Quarry in Hollywood for the lowest bid of $63 and $68 a ton for the two products needed.

• approved ACCA Training in Prattville on June 26 and 27 for David Smith and Divell Bell.

• approved the Revenue Commissioner’s annual insolvents, bankruptcies and taxes in litigation.

• approved the Revenue Commissioner’s officer to hire a temporary position for the summer.

• approved 460 financial garbage exemptions for the county and 67 for the town of Powell.

• announced the DeKalb County Library’s next summer reading program that is open to the public. Helen Keller’s great-great niece, Keller Thompson-Johnson, will be the guest speaker on Thursday, June 13 at 10 a.m. at the Fort Payne Church of Christ.

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