County approves repaving plan

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Pike County Commission approved a County Transportation Plan Monday night that would allocate more than $5.4 million in gas tax revenue towards resurfacing nearly 58 miles of local roads.

Portions of 21 roads will be resurfaced or repaired as part of the project. The roads include county roads 7707, 1105, 2221, 2225, 2267, 2276, 2290, 3310, 3314, 3331, 5518, 3309, 5520, 6647, 2243, 1101, 5535, 1136, 5509, 4408, 2262.

“This road paving list is built on degradation and risk assessment that has stayed the same for the past two commissions,” said Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6. “Before the gas tax, a $480,000 federal highway grant was the sole source of funding for the county to resurface major and minor collectors. There has been no budget period for local roads in the last 30 years.”

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All 58 miles of road will be paved within the next fiscal year, borrowing against the funds allocated by the Rebuild Alabama funds.

The commission unanimously approved the plan Monday. Commissioner Homer Wright, District 1, was not present for the vote.

In addition to the FY2020 plan, which state law required the county to approve and submit before the end of August, the commission has also laid out plans to pave a total of approximately 185 miles of road over the next 15 years.

Only 49 percent of the annual revenue is budgeted in the plan to debt payments, limited by the state’s Rebuild Alabama Act. The other half of the revenue will also be spent on a yearly basis.

A 6-cent gas tax increase will take effect September 1, and counties will begin to see that revenue beginning in January 2020.

In addition to the regular business meeting, the commission also held its first round of budget hearings, hearing from department leaders from the Sheriff’s department, probate court, Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center, Forestry Commission and more.

County administrator McKenzie Wilson said this budget is “probably the best I’ve seen that we can move forward from since I’ve been with the county.”

With some changes still possible to the budget, Wilson said the county has $591,000 in unallocated funding. Some of the increase in budget has come from increased ad valorem tax and sales tax revenue, which includes the simplified sellers use tax (internet sales tax) collected by the state.

The commission will meet again on Monday, August 27, upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the business meeting will follow at 6 p.m.