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Wrapping Up the Wicksburg & Bay Springs Town Hall Meeting

I recently held my first two town hall meetings, the first in Wicksburg and the second in Bay Springs (I will hold two more in Dothan after the first of the year). There were several issues that were raised during the meetings and I wanted to address them publicly for everyone’s benefit.

Yearly payments of sanitation fees

In the past, you could pay for a full year’s worth of garbage pickup instead of making a payment every month. While the county doesn’t offer the option to pre-pay for the full year, if you pay $180 anyway, the overpayment is credited to your account. This means you won’t owe a balance until 1 year later.

Residents were concerned about garbage trucks seen speeding on Judge Logue Road

I have notified the county engineer who will remind his drivers to obey the posted speed limits. If you notice speeding garbage trucks in the future, please notify the Sanitation department at 677-4705 or 677-4789.

Potholes in parking lots of Bay Springs and Wicksburg Volunteer Fire Departments

I am working with the people at both departments to have the county patch the potholes.

Reflective lettering missing from mailboxes and homes hampering volunteer fire and rescue

While there may be postal regulations requiring lettering on every mailbox, the county has no authority to force people to place reflective lettering on their mailbox or home. However, I strongly encourage everyone to place highly visible lettering on your mailbox and your home. If you ever need emergency police, fire, or medical care, reflective lettering may make the difference between life and death.

You can buy reflective lettering at any home improvement store and at Wicksburg Volunteer Fire & Rescue at Five Points in Wicksburg.

Residents expressed concern about garbage on the sides of Judge Logue and Winslette Roads

I have notified the county engineer to coordinate prisoners to pick up trash along those roads. In fact, I have heard that trash has already been picked up along Winslette Road. If you want trash picked up along any other county maintained roads, please use the comment feature below to let me know.

Cost of mowing vs. spraying

Someone was interested to know the difference between the cost of mowing the sides of county roads versus controlling growth with herbicide. It costs anywhere from $35 – $40 per acre to mow vs $4 – $16 to spray.

Can the county force people to remove garbage piling up on their property?

No, we cannot unless the Health Department believes there is a public health hazard.

There is confusion among the dispatchers about dispatching rescue squads to Houston County residents who happen to have Slocomb addresses.

I will discuss with the sheriff the best way to resolve this confusion.

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FAQ: New Garbage Containers

There have been several questions about the new garbage containers so I thought I’d answer most of them here as well as provide a few tips.

Q: When am I supposed to begin using the new garbage containers?

A: You can begin using them immediately. For the next two weeks, the county will continue to service your old garbage cans. After a two week grace period, the county will only empty the new containers. I’d encourage you to begin using the new containers as soon as possible.

Q: Where should I place the container?

A: When the containers were distributed, they were placed in the exact spot where the county wants you to place your container going forward. The containers were placed in the best position for the automated arm to grab and empty your container, so don’t get “inventive” with your garbage container placement. If you do, there is no guarantee that your container will be emptied.

Q: Can I get an additional container?

A: Additional containers can be obtained by calling 677-4705 or 677-4789. There is an additional deposit for each additional container you request.

Q: Do I still need to bag my garbage or can I throw unbagged garbage into my container with reckless abandon?

A: You must continue to bag your garbage. Unbagged garbage has a habit of blowing away from the truck, and back onto your property, when it is being dumped into the garbage truck.

Tip: Make sure the front of the container and the white arrows face the road.

Proper placement of your can will make it last longer. If you misalign your canit will increase the strain on the lid and increase the likelihood of it shearing-off completely.

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Meet your new Garbage Trucks

Houston County will soon begin collecting garbage using the new automated trucks. In the long run, the new trucks will save the taxpayer’s money and reduce the number of accidents which will generate a savings on insurance.

We will begin distributing your new garbage cans in November. Please remember where they are placed when they are delivered; this is where you will need to place your garbage can every time you bring it to the road for collection.

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The Road

Over the course of my door-to-door campaign, whenever I thought about it, I would take out my phone and snap a photo of the area I was walking. It was great getting to better know the people that live in Houston County. While the cold, and later on the heat, did get old after a while, I never tired of speaking to people about my campaign and ideas. On the night of the primaries, all the work paid off. I am forever grateful for the support I received and I look forward to serving the people of District Four.

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My ride-along with the Sherrif’s Department

I rode with a Sherif’s Deputy a few weeks ago on a Friday night. As a result, I got to know some of the people that help keep protect our lives and property while we all sleeping. My primary goal, however, was to get a better idea about the current shape of our Sheriff’s Department.

I came away from the experience very impressed with the people in the Sheriff’s department. We made one stop on Montgomery Highway for a vehicle whose tag was out of date. When the driver produced the tag (he had forgot to affix it to his vehicle) he was allowed to go about his business without a ticket. This humored me because the same thing happened to me a few years ago in a neighboring county. When I produced my tag I was told that wasn’t good enough and was ticketed.

On this particular night, several deputies and a few police from other municipalities met up for a late dinner at one of the establishments on Restaurant Row. I especially valued this opportunity because it was an opportunity to meet and interact with so many law enforcement personnel at once. One of the Deputies there was a Reserve Deputy. Reserve Deputies have a car, carry a badge, a gun, and have the same authority as any other Deputy. They only difference are that they are completely un-paid. They usually work a full-time job and when needed, they fill-in to help out the Sheriff’s Department.

The experience wasn’t all wine and roses, however. The particular car we patrolled in had a minor but noticeable transmission problem, was without radar, and was not equipped with a computer. With the economy seemingly in a never-ending malaise, meeting the Department’s funding needs is going to be a major challenge.

My naive view of “being on patrol” was that of a Deputy wandering randomly around the county, making a few traffic stops, and responding to calls as they come in. What I learned is that most of the activities are carefully planned out. The Deputy I was with has several locations he has to check on several times per night. The process of checking on these places is very thorough, they aren’t just slow drive-byes and glances.

What most impressed me was something that happened when we were responding to a domestic call just before midnight. Shortly after we arrived on the scene a black SUV rolled up and out stepped Sheriff Andy Hughes. This was the last Friday before he moved on to his new position on the following Monday. Even in the twilight of his career as Sheriff, he was far from being mentally checked-out; he was still out there responding to calls.

All in all, I greatly valued this experience and I plan to do this again with the Sheriff’s Department and with other County Departments. I tip my hat to all the law enforcement officers and dispatchers in our area. They have a big responsibility and a limited amount of resources. And I think they are doing a fine job.