Perry County debates paying for city roads

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This much is certain: Perry County Roads 45 and 1 need to be repaired. But this much isn’t: who’s going to pay for them.

That was the subject of debate at the Perry County Commission meeting held Tuesday morning. The two county roads are, obviously, county roads and the Commission has previously included both in a federal aid project to upgrade the roads. But that upgrading stopped at the city limits of Uniontown and Marion, in the case of 1 and 45 respectively.

Now the cities are asking for the county’s assistance in finishing the repair job. Commissioner Albert Turner Jr. said during the meeting, however, that Perry’s municipalities should do their fair part in financing the repairing of the roads.

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“The cities could agree to contribute money or resources to this project,” he said. “I am firm in believing that we should not penalize our residents in the county by giving [the road improvements] to the cities. There should be some sort of nominal fee.”

Turner also pointed out that gasoline taxes, which are primarily used for road construction, are collected by the municipalities as well as the county.

However, Commission Chairman Johnny Flowers suggested that, essentially, the county cover the costs of the repair. He proposed that the Commission “enter into a partnership” with the cities so as to avoid the County permanently taking responsibility for the two sections of roads. However, the cost suggested by Flowers of this partnership to the cities would only be one dollar.

County engineer Danny Overton estimated the cost of repairing the nine-tenths of a mile in question on County Road 1 as $90,000 dollars.

Although the Commission was receptive to collaborating with the cities on the project and overseeing the repairs, the mater of if or how to split the financial burden was not settled and may require further negotiation with Marion and Uniontown.

In other news from the Perry County commission meeting:

* Time has nearly expired for the Commission to use money allocated to the county through a two-year-old Homeland Security grant. The money must be allocated for use by the county and then reimbursed, with the deadline for doing so looming in mid-May. To that end, the Commission authorized Overton to use the grant’s remaining money to purchase items from an “approved list” of goods for the county Fire Association’s “first responders.” Overton said this will include gloves, portable generators, flashlights, portable barriers, and other emergency supplies. Turner was cautious about the authorization, noting that if the reimbursement failed to arrive before the invoices on the equipment were due, the county would face a financial problem. But Flowers said that other counties have had no problem getting reimbursed. “They’re not going to treat Perry County any differently,” he said.

* Overton said a failed stretch of recent asphalt paving–it “didn’t hold”–on County Road 29 is being examined by the state to determine the cause of the failure. Four “cores” of the asphalt were excised from the road and submitted to the state for analysis. Overton offered the opinion that the failure was likely due to a combination of poor weather during the asphalt’s application and poor quality asphalt. He offered the Commission three different ways of dealing with the problem, recommending the third–that the county remove the failed asphalt and start over. The Commission approved that plan and Overton will move forward with repairs.

* The Commission purchased a used truck from the Highway Department for county use for $6300.