District 1 commissioner Kevin Morris attended his first Shelby County Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 13.
The Shelby County Commission voiced its support for a three-cent bond issue called ATRIP-2 during its Feb. 13 meeting.
The bond issue was proposed at the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s 2017 legislative conference, according to the resolution, and received unanimous support of the 53 counties in attendance.
“I have vetted this with the highway committee. All comments I’ve received have been favorable,” said County Engineer Randy Cole.
ATRIP-2 is based on a gas tax the ACCA is trying to pass and would generate a total of $1.2 billion for the state. This money would be used for road and bridge improvements and could help fund more than 12,000 miles of road resurfacing projects and 450 new bridge structures, according to the resolution.
“In Shelby County, total Shelby County, we expect to receive a little over $36 million,” Cole said, adding that 20 percent of that would go to cities. “I’m sure [Chelsea Mayor] Tony [Picklesimer] would like to have some money to work on his own road projects, or to match federal aid or patch potholes or do anything else he wants to do,” Cole said, addressing Picklesimer, who was in attendance.
The bond issue would cost average Shelby County residents between $1.50 and $2.71 per month, Cole said.
“That’s not a lot of money, and they wouldn’t be mislead that this is really going break the bank,” Cole said.
Cole presented the commission with the resolution, asking for them to voice their support of ATRIP-2. ATRIP, which was passed in 2012 by Gov. Robert Bentley, has been successful but was funded through federal money, Cole said. ATRIP-2 will not be federal money, which Cole said will help remove some of the limitations on projects. It could be distributed as needed, without a need for ALDOT approval for road and bridge projects.
“We’ll prepare our own plans and run our own projects,” Cole said. “There’s going to be some stipulations that you cannot pull out salaries, you cannot buy equipment. But you’ll put the money where the rubber meets the road.”
County Manager Alex Dudchock noted that the 20 percent for cities is not the only funding to be used within municipal boundaries. Rather, all of the funding the county receives can be used on roads throughout the county, even if those fall into a particular city’s boundaries.
“The capacity needs and the improvements relative to enhancements out of the county’s portion of this may very well predominantly be in municipal areas,” Dudchock said in regard to the 80 percent of funding not specifically designated for cities.
Cole said he believes about 30 percent of the funding will be used on bridges and 70 percent will be used on roads. Dudchock said he has received questions about projects ALDOT is not doing, even though they are on state roads. Whether or not ATRIP-2 funding would be used for those projects, he said, will be discussed at a later date.
“We like to keep our investment up, so we spend a lot of money on resurfacing roads to keep them in good order,” Cole said. “We spend a lot of money on shoulders to keep them in good order. … We don’t have any shortage of projects, and that’s the reason it’s very difficult for me to go fix something that ALDOT does not see to be a problem, when we have problems of our own.”
The resolution was passed unanimously by present commissioners; Commissioners Lindsey Allison and Tommy Edwards were not at the meeting. It did not approve the start of ATRIP-2, but was a showing of support for the bond issue, to be passed along to the governor, lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives and the chairs of the senate and house rules committee.
Also at the meeting, the commission:
- Accepted bids on stone and sand for the highway department.
- Approved a resolution for an ADECA grant for a North Lakes connector trail to Lunker Lake at Oak Mountain State Park. The two mile trail will cost a total of $75,000, with $60,000 of that coming from ADECA and the remaining $15,000 from Shelby County.
- Heard an update on construction at the Shelby County courthouse and Shelby Administration Building. Work at the courthouse will likely take around 10 months, and the renovation at the administration building should be completed by June, Dudchock said.
- Welcomed Kevin Morris, the new District 1 commissioner.
The next Shelby County Commission meeting is Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Columbiana Public Library.