Two county polling places closing, two merging

The DeKalb County Commission approved the closure of two polling locations and the merging of two during Tuesday’s meeting.

County Administrator Matt Sharp said the three different polling pole changes are required to be done within 90 days or outside of the 90 days of the next election, the November 3, 2020, general election.

The commission voted to close the Pea Ridge polling location in District I, Precinct 1-02, due to the building’s deteriorating conditions.

“The facility is in no position to hold an election,” said Sharp.

He said, according to the DeKalb County Board of Registars, there are 421 registered voters in that area. 333 of those voters would be moved to Henagar, 18 would go to the Ider Senior Center, and 70 would go to Hammondville Town Hall for voting.

District IV Precinct 4-04 polling location at Barry’s Bar-B-Q is closing as well. Sharp said the property owner no longer wishes to allow his facility to be used as a polling location.

“There are 154 registered voters, its the smallest voting location. 121 of those voters would go to Fyffe and 33 would go to Shiloh Town Hall,” he said.

The commission voted to approve the merging of Five Point District III Precinct 3-10 and Precinct 3-12, which are both held at the Fort Payne Senior Center.

“We actually have two different voting locations in the same building and it’s a little confusing to voters,” said Sharp.

There are 724 registered voters at Five Points, and Sharp said that by merging the two precincts, there would be less confusion for voters.

“We have made an effort to find other voting locations at the Five Points community but have failed to do so,” he said.

All changes were voted and approved by the commission during Tuesday’s meeting.

The commission also heard a road maintenance update from DeKalb County Road Department Superintendent Tom Broyles regarding road damage from the Easter Sunday floods and the department’s progress.

He said for the last several weeks and months, the department has been focused on the repairing of multiple roads that were damaged.

“We still have some roads closed in the county due to the flood damage, but we have managed to get some backup,” said Broyles.

He said they are currently working on County Road 33 in District II, which will require additional work in the form of a paved surface for it to be finished.

However, Broyles said they don’t have the time or the manpower, so they may try to get traffic opened back up.

County Road 44, that lacked a final layer of paving, is now open and County Road 641, east of Mentone, remains closed.

According to Broyles, there are a couple of roads that had wooden bridge decks swept away that are still closed, and they have discussed doing something more substantial than replacing the decks on some of those.

Broyles said after waiting for months on the OK from ALDOT to proceed with work on County Road 835, which they received a few days before the Easter Sunday floods, was followed by another flood a few weeks after that.

“That damaged the road we had already fixed, and we had to go back and repair the same damage again,” he said.

Broyles said when they start repairs on County Road 835 again, he hopes to stay there until it is completed. He said they are looking, at best, at late October or the middle of November before the road is ready for asphalt.

District I Commissioner Shane Wootten said they canceled about $1 million worth of road projects that were supposed to be done this year due to the Easter floods.

“The Easter flood was a major flood for DeKalb County, and the repair work took a long time because we continued to get heavy rains that slowed us down,” he said.

Wootten commended Broyles and the road department crew on the job they have done with the repairs and said he wishes people could see how much work is getting done.

The commission approved to post an open position and the purchase of Mack Road tractor, Kenworth dump trucks, Peterbilt trucks for the Road Department.

The commission also:

• approved the request to vacate County Road 628 petitioned by the property owner following a public hearing.

• approved the following Sheriff’s Office personnel: the in-house transfer Seth Butler from corrections officer to deputy, Logan Smith from corrections officer to deputy, hire Will Formby from corrections officer to deputy. The three positions were made possible by the recent COPS Grant awarded to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

• approved the FY 2020-21 Transportation Contract.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the following commission members were present: President Pro Tem District III Commissioner member Chris Kuykendall, District II Commission member Scot Westbrook, District I Commission member Shane Wootten, County Administrator Matt Sharp, and County Attorney Jeff McCurdy.

The next commission meeting is set for August 11, 2020.

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