Commission concerned about stolen street signs

By ED HOWELL
Posted 9/19/18

The Walker County Commission on Monday discussed the rampant stealing of street signs in the county, but discussed no solutions to the problem. District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough brought up …

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Commission concerned about stolen street signs

Posted

The Walker County Commission on Monday discussed the rampant stealing of street signs in the county, but discussed no solutions to the problem. 

District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough brought up the matter. 

"We have a horrible problem with signs. I don't understand why people steal them, take them and do whatever. They are missing all over the county," he said. "We try to replace them and they will be gone the next day." 

Chairman Jerry Bishop, who noted in passing that law enforcement representatives were not at the meeting to talk about the issue, agreed it is a widespread problem. 

"They take them everywhere," he said. "I drive around in districts because I like to see what is going on out there for two reasons, potholes and trash," to deal with phone calls. "But they are taking them. I guess if I visited a few people's places I might find some of them. Surely they don't sell them for scrap iron because those people out there are not supposed to take none." 

Walker County Civil Service Board member Bruce Bennett, when asked a question by District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis, said from the audience that Sunlight Church Road's sign has been replaced four or five times.

"It's not been up but what, six months?" Bennett said. "They put up one six months ago and it has already been stolen four times, I think." 

Burrough said, "We've had them gone the next day." 

Bishop said some have wondered if trucks have hit some, but he said that could not always be the case. 

"They are clearly taking them," Davis said. "In my district, Mr. Chairman, the majority of them are being taken down. Last month, maybe 36 signs were put up by Road and Bridge in my district. A lot of those have been taken back down - or stolen, I should say. It is a major problem."

County Engineer Mike Short said once other factors like materials, gasoline, manpower, and insurance are calculated, the cost is about $100 per sign. 

"And some of these are major roads. They are major intersections," Davis said. "They stole Sunlight Road, the main sign, maybe six times this year." 

District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt said he did not have that problem in his district.

"You don't have Lovers Lane or Copperhead Road, either," Burrough said to laughs. "Or Sunlight Road," Davis added.

District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams was absent from the meeting. 

In other action Monday, the commission: 

• Heard from Short that Dunn Construction is completing a project at the Walker County Airport-Bevill Field. "We're adding another taxiway and taking the center taxiway out. We would add one to the west end of the apron. That is going as well as could be expected."

Davis said the project was much needed, noting that the airport runs with small expenditures on the county's part. Short said the airport takes in $25,000 a year, which the county supplements. Davis said compared to Cullman, Shelby and Marion counties, Walker County's airport budget is significantly smaller, thanks to the well run organization over the airport.

"It is a huge asset to this county to have that airport in the shape that it is in," Davis said. He noted other projects are also underway there for a different entrance and parking lot, with money provided by the state with "relatively hardly any cost to the county and the taxpayers." Officials encouraged others in the county to see the airport. 

• Agreed to an extension of a prior agreement with BellSouth Telecommunications (doing business as AT&T Alabama) that acts much like a franchise agreement, giving rights of way use for the placement of lines. BellSouth pays the county 3 percent of the gross receipts from from local subscribers of  AT&T IP Video Services. The vote extends the agreement for five years, as the current agreement ends in December. 

• Heard Burrough say crews in his county are doing final cuttings for the summer and poisoning weeds.