County commission approves MOU with PCI

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Escambia County Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with the Poarch Creek Indians during its regular meeting on March 14.

Chairman Raymond Wiggins said the memorandum will allow a partnership between Escambia County and PCI to move forward with paving in the west end of the county.

“They (PCI) will be paving three roads in the county,” Wiggins said. “Rodeo Lane, Steel Farm Road and Old Uriah Road are on the schedule to be paved. We will be partnering with them to assist with inspections and other aspects of the project. We are pleased to enter into this agreement with them to help with our infrastructure in the county.”

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Commissioners also passed a resolution in honor of the Escambia County High School basketball team for their success this season.

Commissioner Karean Reynolds made a motion to approve the resolution.

“The Escambia County High School 4A boys team made it well into the state finals,” Reynolds said. “Even with a loss to Jacksonville, this team is the first team in history of the school to go that far. They inspired the city and the whole area. We wanted to recognize the coaches and players for their accomplishments.”

Also during Monday’s meeting, the commission passed a resolution involving electronic voting machines at polling places in the county.

“Any polling place that has 2,400 or more voters is required to have at least one electronic voting machine in place,” Wiggins said. “We have two places, Brewton Community Center and Atmore City Hall, that meet that threshold. It’s mandatory for those places to have the electronic voting machines.”

The commission agreed to put those devices in place at the record voting locations.

Wiggins also presented the 2022 county legislative report outlining presentation and passage of bills that will have an impact on the county and the state.

• House of Representatives approved a bill expanding access to county tax lien auctions: the bill would expand access to and participation in county tax lien auctions by allowing these auctions to be conducted online.

• Senate Committee approves bill to address national mental health crisis in county jails: If approved, the bill will be a positive step toward addressing the growing number of individuals who are suffering from mental illness and incarcerated in a county jail; with the bill specifically allowing law enforcement to partner with local metal health officers to connect individuals who pose a threat to themselves and others with much-needed medical evaluation and possible treatment.

• Senate bill passed to aid local expansion of broadband services in underserved areas: Senate Bill 125, a proposed amendment – If approved, the bill’s proposal will be placed on the November ballot. If approved by the public, it will grant counties and municipalities across the state to financially partner with internet service providers to expand access to broadband to the public.

• House passage of bill to providing county EMA offices better access to federal funding: If approved, the bill will allow EMA professionals to be statutorily recognized for public safety services they perform and subsequently provide our emergency management departments with better access to federal funding opportunities.