OZARK—While initial plans were to split Dale County Sheriff’s Department operations between the Dale County courthouse and a new location across the street from the courthouse, officials said an attorney general’s opinion allows for the entire office to relocate into an annex.
Dale County commissioners approved a resolution designating the Creel Richardson Building as the Dale County Courthouse Annex. In doing so, Dale County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said renovations can continue in order to make the location the new sheriff’s office.
Two security offices and a holding cell are still expected to be housed inside the courthouse, he said.
Blankenship said parking spaces near the Creel Richardson Building will be designated for visitors and those working inside the building, which includes the sheriff’s department, Ozark Dale County E911, a WTVY reporter, and visitors.
The area in which the sheriff’s department will be locating was previously occupied by the Dale County Board of Education, which relocated to the Dale County Government Building on Alabama Highway 123.
Blankenship said the commission initially thought when approving the sheriff’s office relocation that some of the sheriff’s operations would still need to be at the courthouse. Blankenship said a previous attorney general’s opinion has determined that the sheriff’s office could be located in a courthouse annex instead of the actual courthouse.
In other business, the commission expressed interest in implementing performance evaluations for new employees after three months and six months.
Blankenship said a new compliance officer has been productive, with 50 mobile home registrations being renewed out of 194 that were discovered not to have been renewed. Blankenship said of 236 business licenses in the county that had gone unpaid, a total of 22 have since been renewed.
“We’re also working on Social Security exemptions,” Blankenship said.
Dale County Commissioner Wes Strickland recommended the commission consider bidding out the maintenance and tires for the commission’s vehicle fleet, including the sheriff’s office vehicles.
Strickland said a bunch of business owners in Ozark have requested to be considered for the county’s vehicle maintenance. He said bidding to a supplier could allow the commission to better maintain records of the service.
He initially recommended Ozark’s shops be considered because of the proximity to the county offices, but said he agreed with commissioners Charles “Chic” Gary and Doug Williamson that the bids be advertised countywide.
“It’s an opportunity to be fair to everyone asking for a chance to bid,” Strickland said.
Dale County resident Earl Senn requested that funds the county receives in the future for road work be considered for Dale County Road 241.
In other county business, Blankenship said earlier that unemployment benefits received by a former commissioner for a commission seat had been stopped once it was determined the award, which Strickland questioned last month, was not correct.
Dale County Commission Manager Frank Carroll said the county would receive back a credit for the funds.
An Alabama Department of Labor attorney said in response to an open records request that some specific details in relation to the claim, particularly the amount awarded or refunded, were not public record.
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