Construction to begin in February on Park Street sidewalk project

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Construction will begin in February on multi-use sidewalks along Park Street from Madison Street to Elm Street.

The Troy City Council unanimously approved to award the project to Triple J Construction for $230,379.

The project is the 2016 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant project approved for the city. Multi-use paths designed for pedestrians and cyclists will be constructed along Park Street with a new curb and gutter as well as railing separating the pedestrian traffic from motor vehicles.

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The Alabama Department of Transportation will pay 80 percent of the construction costs while the City of Troy will be responsible for the other 20 percent.

They will also split the cost for the engineering services of CDG, which totals $34,698.

The project is one of multiple TAP projects that the city is working on including the construction of more sidewalks downtown.

The council also approved the purchase of a new fire truck for Fire Station 2 in Downtown Troy.

Chief Michael Stephens said the 2001 fire engine the station is using now is reaching the end of its life expectancy.

“These trucks perform great and do a great job,” Stephens said. “We currently have one of these trucks at station 1 and station 3. The frontline pumper at station 2 is a 2001 model and it actually, years ago, was wrecked. It’s got a Mercedes engine in it now and it’s doing OK, but it’s about at the end of its life expectancy.”

The truck cost $638,000 but Mayor Jason Reeves said the truck will not be paid for until it arrives in 300 to 360 days, meaning it can be included in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The council discussed for the second time a potential retirement incentives package for unclassified city employees.

Reeves said adopting the policy could save the city money while also helping employees that want to retire from the city.

“The most important thing to understand about this is that paragraph B in Section 1 says the ‘employee may be entitled to receive.’ The ‘may’ is the word that this all hinges on.”

Reeves explained that the resolution would give him the authority to negotiate out the terms of the agreement with the employee, and he said only an agreement that benefits the employee and the city would be approved.

Basically, the retirement incentives package would allow unclassified employees to take an early retirement and keep their city health insurance paid for as well as remaining employed with the city in another capacity with a salary of under $31,000.

Reeves said the city currently has six unclassified employees and that some of the employees may not decide to make use of the option.

District 2 councilman Greg Meeks said he is concerned about not offering the same opportunity to classified employees who have been with the city for a long time but can’t retire due to the cost of health insurance.

“This is being sold as a cost-saving measure,” Meeks said. “If it’s a cost-saving for unclassified, why not offer it to classified workers? My problem is offering this to a select number of employees and not offering it to all employees. I will not support it as written because of that. That’s my big hang-up with this.”

Reeves explained that offering it to classified workers would be very different due to the higher number of classified workers and the structure in place for those employees. However, Reeves said he was open to considering a similar proposition for classified and other council members also expressed interest in considering an option for classified workers.

Reeves said it may make more sense to pass a resolution offering the opportunity to unclassified workers first and then passing another later for classified workers so that the city doesn’t have too many employees retire at once.

Reeves said it would be best though for the council to wait to vote on the resolution if they are not all in agreement.

“Everybody needs to be on the same page and everybody needs to be comfortable,” reeves said. “I don’t think that’s the case right now.”

The council chose during the business meeting to carry the item forward to the next meting.

The next meeting of the Troy City Council will be held on Tuesday, February 12. The executive committee will meet upstairs at Tory City Hall at 4 p.m. and the council will convene in the city council chambers at 5 p.m.