Commission proclaims April Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month; discusses CR 222 plans

Cullman County Engineer Phillip Widner addresses the Cullman County Commission about funding for the repair of County Road 222, which had a large sinkhole discovered in recent months. (Cheyenne Sharp)

CULLMAN, Ala. – At its monthly meeting held Tuesday, March 19, the Cullman County Commission declared the month of April Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month throughout Cullman County. Cullman County Administrator John Bullard read the declaration that praised local nonprofit Cullman Caring for Kids, before each commissioner signed the document.

An excerpt of the declaration said, “… the Cullman County Commission stands firmly on the side of prevention of any type of abuse and believes no child should endure verbal, emotional or physical abuse for any reason.”

The commission also agreed to allocate $100,000 of opioid settlement funds for The Link of Cullman County and its Personal Pathways Recovery Program. The Link Executive Director Melissa Betts was present at the meeting and spoke to the commissioners about the program she heads, which touts an 81% success rate in rehabilitating addicts and reducing recidivism.

Betts said of the recovery program, “We currently offer a cognitive and behavioral therapy program at The Link. We offer that in-house at The Link as well as in work release in the (Cullman) County Detention (Center). We have an 81% success rate with using this therapy and it helps address how your belief systems are set up. We know oftentimes, people have not had the tools and foundational resources that they need in their life, so this helps them build (the) foundational success tools that can help them make better decisions. Our 81% success rate was based on the fact that if they completed our program, which is a 12-step program, that they did not reoffend; we had 81% of our participants that did not reoffend.”

Cullman County Engineer Phillip Widner and Cullman County Economic Development Director Matt Kinsland petitioned the commission for and received approval for funding for the project to repair damage caused by a large collapsed pipe and sinkhole along County Road 222, one of the county’s major industrial roadways. Due to the incredible traffic of approximately 7,500 vehicles a day, the job needs to be done quickly and efficiently. The damage is located near Interstate 65 and multiple industrial facilities on County Road 222.  

Widner revealed the current plans for the repair in the request for the commission to consider Resolution 2024-15: Award bid for CDBG Urgent Need to Apel Machine and Supply in the amount of $762,132.23 to replace two failing culverts under County Road 222. According to Widner, the failing culverts only affect one side of the roadway, eliminating the need to close the road to off-loading interstate traffic.

“This is the pipe failure that we have under County Road 222,” Widner said. “There doesn’t appear to be any area where the material is completely gone.” 

The County Road Department and Apel plan to reduce traffic to one lane while the repairs are being made. It’s unclear how long the project will take; work will begin as soon as possible.

In other business, the commission:

  • Recognized Lisha Sullins’ retirement after 19 years of service with the Road Department
  • Recognized Jeff Bishop’s retirement after nine years with the Sanitation Department
  • Approved Resolution 2024-14: Authorize chairman to sign CDBG grant and contract amendment to construct road improvements to County Road 1490
  • Approved Commissioner Garry Marchman’s and Commissioner (Corey) Freeman’s nominee, Mike Cone, for reappointment to the Cullman County 310 Authority Board for a term of six years to expire April 1, 2030
  • Approved the use of the south courthouse parking lot for a car wash on Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Approved the use of opioid settlement funds to install AED devices in select senior centers and patrol/first responder vehicles
  • Approved the update to the guidelines for acceptance of roads into the County maintenance system
  • Approved the update of guidelines for paving county-maintained gravel roads
  • Approved the update to County subdivision regulations
  • Approved Resolution 2024-12: Change speed to 35 mph on County Road 1233
  • Approved Resolution 2024-13: Change speed limit to 25 mph on County Road 1250
  • Approved the amendment Item J from Feb. 22, 2024, meeting to reflect the purchase of a 2023 Ford F-150 in the amount of $45,242
  • Ratified Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) in the amount of $2,342
  • Authorized chairman and county attorney to sign FY 2024 Certifications and Assurances for FTA Assistance Programs for CARTS
  • Approved contract cancellation with WENS Mass Alert System
  • Approved quote from Everbridge for Mass Alert Notification System in the amount of $23,840.89 and authorized chairman to sign all related paperwork
  • Approved contract between the Cullman County Commission and Post Panda and authorized chairman to sign all related paperwork
  • Approved payment of Workers Compensation additional amount of $35,213.73 to County Risk Services due to results of annual audit
  • Approved WEX Fuel Agreement on Sourcewell Contract 042016-WEX
  • Approved the application for FY 2024 State Homeland Security Grant for EOC upgrade for computers, smartboards and cameras in the amount of $60,000
  • Approved the following items from the Road Department to be auctioned on GovDeals or by any means necessary
    • Built Rite Clam and Trailer

                  •.   1987 GMC

  • 2007 GMC 550
    • Broce Broom
    • 2005 Ford F-350
    • 2005 Ford F-350
    • 1982 GMC
    • 2005 Ford F-350
  • Approved to extend Bid 1430: for Guardrail to Alabama Guardrail
  • Approved to extend Bid 1431: for Poly Pipe to Bear Concrete
  • Approved to extend Bid 1433: for Bituminous Plant Mix (Product Only) to Whitaker Contracting and Wiregrass Construction
  • Approved to extend Bid 1384: for Fireworks to Pyro Shows of Alabama, Inc.
  • Awarded Bid 1455: for Bituminous Plant Mix (Installed) to Whitaker Contracting and Wiregrass Construction
  • Awarded Bid 1456: for Herbicides and Adjuvants to Red River Specialties, LC V. Awarded Bid 1458: for Pickle Ball Court at Smith Lake Park to Ortiz Concrete
  • Awarded Bid 1459: for Pipe and Boring on County Road 222 TBD
  • Awarded Bid 1460: for One or More New Pick-up Truck(s) to Eckenrod Ford Lincoln

The next Cullman County Commission meeting will be held Thursday, April 18, 2024, in the commission meeting room. The work session will begin at 4 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 6.

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