Before the Commission approved the decision, they reviewed project proposals from Sylacauga Mayor Doug Murphree and Talladega City Manager Brian Meunger. Lincoln Mayor Bud Kitchin, who was also present at the Monday work session, did not submit a proposal.
Murphree’s proposal sought to use $168,735 of the ATRIP funding, along with Special Gasoline Tax funds and possible Alabama Trust Fund monies to make rehabilitative repairs of West 4th Street, a road that boasted one of the highest volumes of traffic in the city according to Murphree.
The request submitted by Meunger called for pairing $115,000 in ATRIP funds with a local match of $51,056 to support traffic signal upgrades at the intersection of East Street and Coosa Street.
District 5 Commissioner Greg Atkinson motioned for both projects to be considered for ATRIP funding, but the motion failed to be seconded.
After Atkinson’s motion died, District 4 Commissioner Jimmy Roberson made the motion to allocate the money for county road projects and requested for County Engineer Tim Markert to prepare a list of high-priority county projects candidates for consideration.
“(Markert) didn’t know he had the approval to use this round of funds until today,” Roberson said. “I’m hoping when we start having these meetings with the engineer now that he has the authority to pursue projects within the county and city limits, hopefully we’ll be able to choose some of the things that will benefit both the municipalities and us.”
Although the decision meant Sylacauga would not receive any funding from any round of ATRIP, Murphree said the understood the decision by the Commission.
“I want to thank the Commission for their consideration of my proposal,” Murphree said. “I hope that in the future, we can work together to benefit all of our communities.”
Roberson did not downplay the need for either project submitted by Murphree or Meunger.
“I think we, as public officials throughout the county, need to work together and do what’s best for the county as a whole,” Roberson said. “I’m not saying the projects in Talladega and Sylacauga are not legitimate, good projects. I’m just saying the remaining projects the county has that we’re responsible for I think are maybe five times greater.
“We’re not talking about a whole bunch of money here,” Roberson said. “I think each representative from all the cities understands where we are coming from. If we were talking about an extremely large amount of money, it would have been an easy answer, but it’s just a drop in the bucket for all of us to finalize these projects.”
Atkinson acknowledged the fact Sylacauga may have been passed over for funding, but he conceded the funds would be an important asset for the county and credited Markert for his efforts.
“Sylacauga received no funds from ATRIP, but at the same time, there’s such a great need for road and bridge improvement across the county that we just have to work a little bit harder to find some more funds,” Atkinson said. “Tim does the best that anybody possibly could with the job he has and the funds we have. Our road crews are great. We just don’t have the funding to be able to keep all the roads paved and up-to-date.”
With a decision made, the Commission motioned to cancel the upcoming called meeting Friday originally scheduled for discussing ATRIP funds dispersal.
Contact Shane Dunaway at firstname.lastname@example.org