The Tallapoosa County Commission heard of efforts to reorganize an emergency volunteer organization and an effort to install reflective address signs on rental properties while approving a resolution to allow bonds to be sold for the Tallapoosa County Board of Education at its meeting Monday.

Volunteers are trying to reorganize the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Stacey Jeffcoat is the president of VOAD for Tallapoosa and Coosa counties and spoke to the commission to explain VOAD’s role in a disaster.

“We help organize volunteers during a disaster,” Jeffcoat said. “We work with EMA, Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other volunteers to help organize the volunteer efforts after a disaster. In a disaster, everything would be run through (EMA) and is under (Tallapoosa County EMA director) Jason (Moran’s) direction.”

VOAD is a national program.

“Each county is encouraged to have its own VOAD,” Moran said. “They would help coordinate volunteer efforts.”

Jeffcoat asked the commission for help with office supplies like paper and to go ahead get certain supplies like water, reflective vests and ID badges on hand before a disaster strikes.

“It is not if but when a disaster strikes,” Jeffcoat said. 

John Hill is the vice president of VOAD in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties and said the group is trying to plan for disaster as much as possible beforehand.

“We are preplanning to get these volunteer organizations under one umbrella,” Hill said. “We don’t want to wait until people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.”

Moran said one of the issues of the tornadoes striking Lee County last year was some disorganization to start with. To help get VOAD off the ground in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties, Lee County EMA director Becky Benton will speak at an organizational meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 6 in the United Way conference room on Main Street in Alexander City.

The commission approved a resolution to allow the Tallapoosa County Board of Education to seek bonds using the new 1-cent sales tax for capital projects.

“This is similar to the resolution last month for Alexander City Schools,” county administrator Blake Beck said. “The resolution says the county will levy the tax for bonds not to exceed $25 million for a least the duration of the bond issue.”

The commission also voted to reconvey property back to the Tallapoosa County Board of Education. Beck said it is related to the 2010 bond issue the board is refinancing.

The commission voted to not take part in the 2020 Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

“It has been the practice of the commission to solicit the recommendations of the local school boards,” Beck said. “They’re recommending not taking part in it.”

Lake Martin Landlord Association president Tony Goss asked the commission on behalf of the association for financial help in getting reflective address signs for all of the rental properties in Alexander City.

“We partnered with the Alexander City Fire Department to get the signs in place,” Goss said. “The real burden is the cost of the signs. They are $9.02 and that does not count the screws or the angle iron used to place them.”

Goss hopes the commission will support the cause as the commission has already provided some funding for the current signs. Goss said there are more than 3,400 rental properties and the cost of the signs is more than $35,000 but the association is not going to be solely dependent on the commission.

“We ask you to consider more funding for the signs,” Goss said. “(The association) meets again in February and we will be taking up a donation.”

The commission went into executive session to discuss economic development with Denise Walls of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance. The commission returned to regular session after 20 minutes and took no action on discussion from the session.

The Class of 2020 Leadership Lake Martin was in attendance for county government day.

In other action the Tallapoosa County Commission:

• Approved warrants and purchase orders

• Approved employee leave under the Family Medical Leave Act

• Approved the appointment of Chad Abrams to the Wall Street Water Authority

• Was reminded the courthouse will be closed Monday, Jan. 20 in observance of the birthdays of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee 

The next meeting of the Tallapoosa County Commission is Monday, Feb. 10 at 9 a.m.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.