Choctaw Co. Resolution Vote

Butler, Ala.

Choctaw County commissioners have approved a resolution that could ultimately change the way government operates there.

Scores of people turned out for the highly anticipated vote Tuesday morning. In fact, because of the large crowd, the meeting had to be moved into a small courtroom.

Many in the audience were there to support a resolution which they say would help the county operate more efficiently. It's a resolution that could ultimately allow Choctaw County voters to decide whether the county should switch from a district system to a unit system.

Probate Judge Mike Armistead broke the two-way-tie.

"On a decision as impactful as the unit system, I'm all for the citizens of Choctaw County making that decision," says Armistead.

District 4 Commissioner Mark Gibson and Willie Horn from District 2 voted against it. Horn says he's against the change because it could cut commissioners' salaries and benefits in half.

"To get qualified people you've got to do the right thing and I felt like that was the right thing to do," says Horn. "To keep the salaries up and put it on the unit system; I have no problem."

Although District 1 Commissioner Tony Cherry voted for the resolution, he says some things need to be done before a change is made.

"I want to make sure that every district is still represented fairly, as far as funding," says Cherry. "We need to make sure that we have the resources to do the work that needs to be done."

Members of the group, Concerned Citizens of Choctaw County, support the resolution. Under the current district system, commissioners are responsible for the every day upkeep for the county's roads and bridges. Under the unit system, the county engineer will handle those duties. Committee members say this will ease commissioners' work load.

"They're not out there building roads with the unit system," says John Boney, who's chairman for the Concerned Citizens Committee. "They will only meet twice a month for administrative work. That way, people who would not run the way it is now would run."

The commissioners' resolution is heading to the Alabama legislature for approval. If approved by the legislature, the measure is expected to appear on the ballot in Choctaw County next June.