Fixes coming for Slough Loop

Published 10:03 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

Decatur County officials are hoping to restore a little more normalcy for the residents of Slough Loop Road by repairing their road, which was damaged and partially destroyed due to flooding in April 2009.

On Tuesday evening, commissioners held a public hearing for the purpose of closing out the Slough Loop Road improvement project No. 2, that was funded with a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

County Administrator Tom Patton said the CDBG project had funded the paving of Slough Loop Road. A deluge of rainfall in late March and early April caused the Big Slough to flood and not drain into the Flint River, which had exceeded its flood stage by about 5 feet in mid-April.

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Along with the damage the flood caused elsewhere around the county, the runoff damaged homes in Slough Loop Road, displaced residents and left those who remained without potable water for about two weeks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay for Slough Loop Road to be restored to its pre-flooding condition, an idea some residents have questioned.

Patton said county officials are planning to install new culverts whenever the road is repaved, which may improve the rate at which water flows out of the neighborhood. The additional work will have to be approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Protection Division, he said.

Patton has said previously that the county may seek to have the flow of water in the Big Slough, a natural depression that sometimes fills with water from the Flint River, rerouted away from homes. Excavation of the Slough prior to Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 had a noticeable, positive impact, according to Patton.

Citizen seeks help after wreck

In unrelated business, citizen Matthew Ivey addressed commissioners, seeking to have them reimburse him for lost wages, medical expenses and car repair bills he said he incurred after a May vehicle accident on Slough Loop Road.

Ivey, who accidentally drove into the part of the road that had been destroyed by flooding, said the “Road Closed” sign placed there was not an adequate enough barricade to warn motorists.

At Chairman Earl Perry’s suggestion, commissioners agreed to turn over Ivey’s documentation of his expenses to County Attorney Brown Moseley. Perry said county officials would consult with Moseley and get back to Ivey.

Other business

In other business, county commissioners:

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a low bid of $11,942.50 from Dixieland Metals of Alabama, of Dothan, Ala., for a roof for the new visitation room at the Decatur County Correctional Institute.

 Approved, by unanimous vote, a contract with Bainbridge Bikefest Inc., for economic development, tourism and recreation in Decatur County. Per the contract, the county will contribute $5,000 to Bainbridge Bikefest to support the annual music and motorcycling festival.

 Approved, by 4-0 vote with Commissioner Russell Smith abstaining, a lease agreement with Andrew Heard for 25.2 acres of pasture land owned by the county government off Old Clay Pit Road. Heard, who submitted the only bid, will pay the county $20 per acre per year to use the land for livestock grazing. Smith said he abstained because he is a member of the Bainbridge Trailblazers horse riding club, which Heard is the president of.

 Held a closed session for the purpose of discussing a real estate and a personnel matter. When the open meeting resumed, commissioners took no action on the real estate matter nor one of the personnel matters discussed in closed session. On the second personnel matter, regarding the renewal of Tom Patton’s contract for one year, from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, the board voted unanimously to renew his contract, according to Barbara Parsons, an administrative assistant for Decatur County.

 At the request of Commissioner Smith, County Public Works Superintendent Dennis Medley gave a brief update on the progress of resurfacing Hales Landing Road. Medley said the primary project work was finished on June 10; however, his employees have to wait for the asphalt to cure before they can complete the project. Next week, Medley’s crews should begin working on paving the road’s shoulders and installing rumble strips. They will also put back two-feet driveway aprons and paint stripes on the road once the asphalt has had time to cure. Medley said the county has also been approved for participation in a Georgia Department of Transportation program that would allow repainting of stripes on numerous county roads.

 During the portion of the meeting reserved for commissioners to make their own remarks, Commissioner Charles Stafford highlighted how youth interns are working in the Board of Elections and Voter Registration office as well as the Tax Assessor’s office. County Human Resources Director Marjorie Mayfield said the interns are high school students she arranged to help through the Workforce Investment Act program.