The commissioner from District 5, who serves residents in Jacksonville, Piedmont, and parts of Pleasant Valley, Rabbittown and White Plains, officially announced his decision at the commission’s meeting. The meeting was Abbott’s last as chairman under the commission’s rotating schedule. Commissioner Tim Hodges will take the post in February.
Abbott said the primary reason not to run again was to spend more time with his 13-year-old grandson, whom he recently adopted.
“I’m not getting any younger and he’s getting older,” Abbott said. “When you get to be 73, you don’t have a whole of people left in your life who depend on you, but he needs me more than the commission needs me.”
Abbott said he had been asked to run for re-election, and had also been approached to run for other positions, including for the state board of education, but said Thursday he’s done with politics.
Abbott was first elected to the commission in 2002, and re-elected in 2006 and 2010. The former Jacksonville State University baseball coach said he ran for the seat on the urging of his friend and former commissioner Eli Henderson. He said Thursday he was most proud of his first year in office when he worked to secure federal money for residents’ safety and protection during the early stages of the incineration of the Army’s chemical weapons stockpile in Anniston.
Hodges thanked Abbott at the meeting for his most recent nine-month tenure as chairman, and also his 11 years in office, emphasizing Abbott’s role in parks and recreation activities for the county.
“It didn’t matter if it was in Anniston, or Oxford, or Jacksonville, Rudy is always the go-to guy when you need a ball field,” Hodges said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do without him, but I’m sure we’ll keep him around.”
Only one candidate has announced intentions to run for Abbott’s District 5 seat; Jacksonville resident Jay Dill announced in November he will run on the Republican ticket.
Abbott is one of three locally serving Democrats in elected office in Calhoun County.
In other business, the commission:
--Vacated maintenance of a 300-foot section of Pelham Road near the intersection of U.S. 431 across from the Calhoun County Board of Education. County Engineer Brian Rosenbalm said the owner, Shirley Ramsey, plans to use the property for commercial development.
--Amended an agreement with the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce to provide $2,000 to promote the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament.
--Approved the purchase of a $20,175 2014 compact 5-passenger SUV from Buster Miles Ford for the County License Commissioner’s Office.
--Re-appointed Phil Webb to serve on the McClellan Development Authority for a three-year term.
--Passed a resolution accepting a transfer of property for a right of way on Wellington Road. The county obtained the property to replace a bridge.
--Approved a contract with JM Wood Auction Company in South Carolina to sell surplus equipment in March.
--Passed a resolution lowering the mileage-rate compensation for employees from 56.5 cents a mile to 56 cents.
--Passed public nuisance abatements on 564 Kingway Drive, 210 Jamback Road, 800 North Hunter St. and 1418 Willett St. in Anniston and 2936 Grayton Road in Ohatchee.
--Declared public nuisance abatements at 434 Starla Drive, 416 E. 54th St. and 1115 W. 53rd St. in Anniston, and 1016 Alexandria Road in Weaver.
--Dismissed nuisance abatements at 605 Deyo St. in Anniston and 432 Silver Circle in Jacksonville.