County Commission | The Magazine August 2018 - Page 42

A voice from Alabama’s 67 counties Josh Harvill, CEA Chambers County Engineer President, Association of County Engineers of Alabama (ACEA) perspective, the conversation has moved to “Are we, as taxpayers, willing to pay for it through an increase in taxes?” and “Would we, as taxpayers, want our legislators to develop a temporary or a long-term solution?” Q ACEA has taken a leadership role in the How has the conversation push for increased road and about infrastructure bridge funding in our state. investment in Alabama changed What are members focusing on over the last few years? this summer? Q A In my county engineering career, there has always been a need for additional funding for county infrastructure. The ACCA has helped county commissioners and county engineers deliver that message over the last few years better than any other time since I’ve been in county government. Whether it is communicated through community meetings, commission meetings, local media or social media – our message is as clear as it has ever been. The question today is not whether we need additional funding; I think most believe that we do. From my 42 | COUNTY COMMISSION A County engineers are always planning. We will continue to keep our plans updated and be in position to deliver projects quickly if additional funds are appropriated, but education will be our primary focus. We are educating our citizens and legislators on the role county highway departments play in our state’s transportation system and “telling our story.” At the same time, we are also explaining the impacts we face if we continue to deny our communities the funding needed for local infrastructure. Q County commission seats are on many ballots this year. What can a county engineer do to build a good working relationship with a newly-elected commissioner? A Communicate effectively and invest time with the commissioner. I’ve learned so much about county engineering from those who have preceded me. One tool I have taken from other counties and implemented in Chambers County is a “Highway Department Introduction.” Some counties accomplish this through a manual, but we utilize a PowerPoint presentation that introduces commissioners to laws that govern the expenditure of gasoline tax dollars, our chain of command, transportation plan, work-order system, interdepartmental rules and policies, etc. Mo [\ܝ[KB[\YH[H[[Y\[\]X[YH\XH]B[Z\[ۙ\ˈ]H[H\X[Bܝ[]Y\[][X]HZ\ۘ\[H[H][šۛ[H[XH\K