More Money Expected To Be Added To City Paving At Request Of Several Council Members

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
City Council members Carol Berz and Russell Gilbert with Mayor's Chief of Staff  Travis McDonough
City Council members Carol Berz and Russell Gilbert with Mayor's Chief of Staff Travis McDonough

More money is expected to be added to the city paving budget after several City Council members said $1.7 million is not enough.

Travis McDonough, the mayor's chief of staff, said the administration will take another look at the paving item and indicated the amount will be upped.

Vice Chairman Chip Henderson said he would like to see $3.5 million. 

Councilman Ken Smith said he wants $5 million.

Chairman Yusuf Hakeem cautioned, "I'm asking myself are we taking it away from the needs and concerns of the people?"

Councilman Smith said, "There is not a day goes by that I don't get half a dozen requests about paving. If I'm out in the public, it's a whole lot more."

He said that "going eight years with less than $2 million a year for paving" has left the city streets in bad shape.

Vice Chairman Henderson said, "I'm getting killed on the paving issue. I can't go to church without being asked about roads."

Chairman Hakeem responded, "If it is going to be between roads and the people, I'm going with the people."

Councilman Jerry Mitchell also urged more money for roads if at all possible. He said, "I would like Mr. (Andrew) Kean to try to find some money for roads."

The council also focused on a request from Independent Auditor Stan Sewell for a 16.5 percent budget increase.

He said the rest of his budget is flat except for adding to the line item for consultants and adding a new auditor who will focus entirely on sewage treatment and stormwater items. He noted the city is under a $250 million consent decree on cleaning up local streams, and he said the Moccasin Bend Treatment Plant has a $70 million annual budget of its own.

Chairman Hakeem wanted to know, "who is going to monitor the monitor?" Mr. Sewell said he is confident that the new auditor would not be bought off by a contractor.

The administration is asking for a vote on the budget next Tuesday and then a second-reading vote the following Tuesday. 


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