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Demopolis moves forward with $1.163 million street paving project

The Demopolis City Council moved forward Thursday with a project to pave approximately 12 city streets.

Engineer Jeremy Jones with Almon Associates out of Tuscaloosa presented the council with a $1.163 million estimate to pave the dozen streets.

“These are preliminary estimates based off our observation in the field,” Jones said. “Everything I looked at I would recommend resurfacing. The need is there on all of them. You guys are charged with that decision [on what to pave].”

There’s no guarantee that bids from contractors will match the engineer’s estimates. The council discussed the need to prioritize streets in case costs run more than what’s budgeted.

“We need to have a number [of dollars to spend] in mind, bearing any major overages,” said Councilman Bill Meador.

The project will be paid for through reserves and money set aside for paving from this budget year. Councilman Charles Jones Jr. said the reserve amount, roughly $700,000, will be put back as a bond is paid off and CDs mature.

“We have a way to put it back,” Jones said.

The streets or portions of streets being considered for paving are Powe Road, Clover Ridge Drive, Cromwell Avenue, Washington Street, Strawberry Avenue, South Walnut Avenue, Main Avenue in downtown, Front Street, James Drive, Eastern Circle, Olive Drive and Mauvilla Drive.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

•Nominated Sylvia Malone and Tony Pittman for the board of adjustment. A vote on the open junior alternate spot will take place during the Sept. 19 meeting.

•Discussed changes to how the city enforces ordinances concerning things like dilapidated housing, overgrown lots and abandoned cars.

“Our current method is not achieving the desired results,” said Mayor Mike Grayson. “I think what we are going to have to do is put some monetary punch in this ordinance.”

Under the revisions, anyone found in violation of an ordinance would be given a five day notice to take action or make arrangements to fix the problem.

If the violation wasn’t addressed in that time frame, the person would be subject to a penalty of $30-$200 and an appearance in municipal court. The fine is set at the discretion of the municipal judge.

With a second offense, the fine increases to no less than $100.

“I read the ordinance. I think it would be an improvement,” said Bill Poole, city attorney. “I think the threat of municipal court will move some people to act.”

•Grayson also presented council members with a budget for 2013-2014. The budget projects revenue of $9,672,100 and expenses of $9,639,954. That’s a difference of $32,146 to the good.

The budget is expected to be voted on Sept. 19.