Glasscock right at home as new commissioner
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
With construction of a new bridge on Mt. Tabor Road nearly completed and one on Indian Hills Road ready to begin, Morgan County District 2 Commissioner John Glasscock of Hartselle said he will continue to seek funds to make bridges and roads in his district safer.
"There is state money available for these bridges and we're taking advantage of it," Glasscock said. "Many counties haven't tapped into this resource yet."
The resource Glasscock referred to is a five-year bridge improvement grant program sponsored by the state. If the funds available through the program have not been used at the end of the five-year timeline, Glasscock said the state will divide and redistribute the grant money to be used for the same purpose throughout the state.
"The bridge improvements our district has made and will continue to make will ensure safer travel for everyone on our roadways," Glasscock said. "Indian Hills Road is currently one of the most dangerous spots in District 2, but the new bridge will help to correct that."
Aside from new bridge construction, Glasscock said road improvements are an ongoing task in District 2.
"Patch work goes on every day that it's not raining," Glasscock said. "There are approximately 200 miles of paved roads in District 2. The patch truck is out inspecting those roads constantly to fix problems before citizens have to call and alert us to them."
But Glasscock knows that a hole can only be patched so many times.
"Since part of our budget is designated specifically for roads, one or two roads in the district will be repaved this summer," Glasscock said. "The county engineer will help us to determine which roads are worst and need the most immediate attention."
Glasscock said road and bridge improvements have kept him very busy since he was elected to office last November. But, after 25 years in the healthcare finance and accounting field, Glasscock said his new position fits like an old shoe.
"So much of being a commissioner deals with budget and finance," Glasscock said. "It really mirrors what I've done and enjoyed as a profession throughout the years."
One financial concern Glasscock foresees as an impending problem for Morgan County and the rest of the state is the recent and steady increase of fuel prices. As prices rise, Glasscock said consumers will cutback on fuel consumption, which will ultimately decrease the amount of fuel tax revenues received by each county.
"We are planning ahead and looking at ways to conserve for this possibility," Glasscock said. "You don't wait until you're broke to start saving."
As echoed throughout his campaign, Glasscock said his decision to run for District 2 office stemmed from his desire to make a difference.
To learn how to make a difference, Glasscock is currently participating in a 50-hour training course for county commissioners. The course is mandated by the state and sponsored by the Auburn University Center for Government Service.
Since December, Glasscock has studied issues like county government, ethics and legal issues, roads and bridges, and financial administration.
"It has turned out to be a very good experience, especially for a new guy," Glasscock said.
Another way Glasscock is striving to make a difference is by assisting the many agencies and entities that look to the commissioner's office for support.
"We applied for a grant to help fund a senior center in Neel," Glasscock said. "It was denied, but we plan to apply again. Another grant we've applied for would help fund a T-ball park at West Park. The lighting and bleachers will be expensive, but those little guys need a place to play, too."
While in office, Glasscock plans to make other improvements to West Park.
"The residents in this district really make great use of the parks," Glasscock said. "There is plenty of land out at West Park. Through the help of state grants, I hope to see the park grow and expand with the community."