County looks to vote

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Escambia County commissioners could have greater power to control nuisances such as noise, junkyards and pollution if voters pass a measure on the November ballot.
The areas of concern the county hopes to gain some control over include weeds, junkyards, litter and rubbish, noise, pollution, unsanitary sewage and animal control.
The work of the commission was put into action some two to three years ago Stokes said.
The referendum on next month's ballot will give the commission a leg-up on being able to act on such matters.
Junked cars have proven to be a nuisance in some areas of the county, Stokes said.
Stokes said that the county would also be able to approach rural residents concerning overgrown weeds and sewage problems if the act passes.
The list of actions the commission cannot take is actually longer than the list of powers they would receive as the result of a passed act.
The legislation specifically prohibits the county from taking any action inside a city's limits, since municipal government handles all ordinances and abatements within their respective cities.
For more than 100 years in Alabama, local voters have been blocked because the power to make decisions has largely rested in the halls of the state Legislature in Montgomery, according to information from the Alabama County Commission Association.
This new law has given voters the ability to return control of the local communities back to the local level.
When voters go to the polls on November 7, they will be given an opportunity to choose yes or no on the act. The ballot will read: &#8220Shall the provisions of Act No. 2005-200 which authorizes the county to abate certain health and safety nuisances be applicable in the unincorporated areas of Escambia County?”
Five counties in Alabama have already passed such an act as the one facing Escambia County voters.
Those counties passing the act include and the voting records are Autauga, Dallas, Jackson, Marshall and Mobile. Counties with the act on the November ballot are Bibb, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Escambia, Macon, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa.

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