Two Cleburne County employees have applied for a human resource officer position vacant since June, and commissioners could hire one of the applicants at their next meeting later this month.
Commissioners learned during a work session Monday night that Lisa Milinkovich, the county finance clerk to whom they’ve delegated human resource duties, and Timothy Sprayberry, the county’s compliance officer, applied for the unfilled spot. The commissioners in February restarted the stalled hunt for a new human resource officer, agreeing to accept internal applications — a move that wasn’t clearly supported by county hiring policies.
Milinkovich and Sprayberry will sit for interviews March 20, an hour before the commission next meets, commissioners agreed Monday. Commissioners Emmett Owen and Terry Hendrix expect to make a hire the same evening.
If that doesn’t happen, Hendrix and Owen said, the commission will solicit applicants not currently on the county’s payroll.
Commissioners began Monday’s work session with a report from Matt Ebbert, a senior geologist with PPM Consultants — the Birmingham-based firm paid to clean a fuel spill at a former county fueling station.
Ebbert came to brief the commissioners on how the county’s recent eligibility for state funds to help clean the site will mean his company ultimately bills the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, rather than the county.
The geologist put the cost of cleanup for the next year at $264,000, and told commissioners that cost should drop as time goes on.
“It’s only going to get better,” Owen said of that cost after the meeting. “We might get six years” out of the $1.5 million in state funds promised the county, he said.
After hearing a proposal from a representative of Schneider Electric, a Birmingham-based company interested in auditing the county’s utility usage to find savings, commissioners turned to local roads.
County engineer Lee Estes gave a report on the grass cutting and road maintenance his office is focusing on now, and talked of developments on long-term projects the county has undertaken using federal funds disbursed by the state.
Commissioners then took up a recurring topic of late: gathering support for a proposal by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama to seek a $1.2 billion bond for road and bridge construction and repair across the state, financed by a corresponding 3-cent increase in the tax on gasoline.
That tax increase would have to be approved by the state’s legislature, but if that happened, some $8 million of the bond money could go to Cleburne County — where it’s sorely needed, commissioners said.
For Commissioner Laura Cobb, the bond might mean roads in her district stay paved, rather than revert to dirt. She said she felt “so many people” were unaware of the proposal.
“We’ve got to educate our people,” she said.
Owen suggested the commissioners get together to film a video showing “what we’re dealing with” to drive home the point that without the extra funding, no fix is likely to come.
The money, he said, “is just enough to help us accomplish something.”
Staff Writer Zach Tyler: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @ZTyler_Star.