Business owners in Dadeville sought the help of the Tallapoosa County Commission at its Monday meeting.

Mitzy Hidding of Zaza Verandah explained she and other business owners on the square want to see county employees parking elsewhere to allow spaces for customers to park and shop.

“We have about eight new businesses that have opened,” Hiding told the commission. “All told on and around the square we have about 30 businesses. Dadeville is growing and it is great. The concern I would like to bring up to you today is parking around the square during the workday.”

Hiding said she and other businesses have put up their own limited parking signs to encourage employees to park elsewhere. Currently there is no ordinance from the City of Dadeville limiting the time a car is allowed to park around the square. If there were to be an ordinance to limit parking around the square, the Dadeville Police Department would be the agency to enforce it.

Hiding brought a petition signed by merchants to the commission and ask for it to encourage employees to park elsewhere.

“We are requesting all courthouse employees to be asked or instructed by (the commission) to not park in front of businesses during the normal workday and utilize the parking places down by the church,” Hidding said.

Hidding said she and her husband purchased the building in August 2019 but the parking issue around the square is nothing new.

“The Moores who owned our building at one time, personally told us they moved three blocks away because the location, customers had no parking,” Hidding said. “They were not easily able to find a place on the square to park.”

Hidding said it is difficult to encourage customers to shop.

“Even with businesses providing limited time parking, we still have a lot of courthouse employees that are parked all day long in front of store front businesses,” Hidding said. “They are seeing them arrive a little before 8 a.m. and departing right at 5 p.m. Most businesses are struggling enough today trying to remain open with what is going on with COVID. When it’s not easy to find a parking place, people just won’t stop and patronize the shops that are open on the square. We all know we need customers to remain open.”

County employees will get one time bonuses thanks to the commission. The commission approved a one time $500 bonus for full time employees and a $250 bonus for part time employees. Commissioner T.C. Coley made the recommendation.

“Due to a lot of hard work by county employees and the fact we as a county have been able to manage our resources well over the last several years including through the pandemic, we have been able to keep the county government going through the pandemic,” Coley said. “We expect to be able to do so through the upcoming surge and think they deserve this.”

County administrator Blake Beck said the funds for the one time bonuses would come from the general fund and not Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act monies.

County Road 34 from Highway 49 to U.S. Highway 280 will see improvements. County engineer David Moore told the commission the county had received a High Risk Rural Road Program grant.

“This is for rural roads that have a lot of traffic and also have safety concerns,” Moore said. “We were awarded a grant to do safety improvements on County Road 34 East. It is narrow. The grant will go to widening the road, scoring the edges and putting new traffic stripe on the road. It is similar to what the state is doing on state routes like 49 and 22 to improve safety.”

The commission approved the letting of bids for a new sewage system at the Tallapoosa County Jail. It also approved the letting of bids for equipment for six new patrol vehicles for the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Jimmy Abbett requested the commission to approve a resolution for the Stepping Up Initiative to help provide mental health assessments of county inmates.

The commission approved the renovation of the courtroom at the Tallapoosa County Courthouse in Dadeville. The funding for the renovation is coming from the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court. Renovations will move the jury box and provide for a more secure area for both jurors and incarcerated defendants.

The commission voted to enter an executive session to discuss economic development. Russell Lands CEO Tom Lambert, Steve Forehand, Roger Holliday and David Sturdivant met with the commission privately for half an hour. The commission then met with Chad Odom and Denise Walls of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance for about 15 minutes then held discussions amongst its members for 10 minutes before reconvening its regular meeting without taking action.

Commissioner Emma Jean Thweatt was absent from the meeting.

In other action the Tallapoosa County Commission:

• Approved minutes of the Nov. 9 meeting

• Approved warrants and purchase orders for November 2020

• Approved the reappointment of Glen Fuller to the Horseshoe Bend Regional Library board

• Approved the reappointment of David Wayne Key, Stan merrett and Jay Turner to the Tallapoosa County E-911 board

• Approved a 3-year agreement with Everbridge for the mass notification system Tallapoosa Alert

• Awarded a bid to repaint Germany’s Ferry Bridge in the amount of $156,000 to International Rigging to be paid through a grant from Rebuild Alabama

• Approved an agreement with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office for the mailing of voter registration notices

• Was reminded the courthouses of Tallapoosa County would be closed Dec. 24-25 in observance of Christmas and Jan. 1 in observance of New Years

The next meeting of the Tallapoosa County Commission is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 11, 2021.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.