City officials hope a fall start on $1.4 million in paving will put Decatur ahead of the competition for fiscal 2019.
City Engineer Carl Prewitt said contractor Reed Construction finished Fourth Avenue Southeast and a portion of Indians Hills Road last week. The contractor was scheduled to start 13th Avenue Northeast late in the week, but the rain Thursday interfered with those plans.
That’s three of 13 streets in the city’s paving plan for the new fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The plan also includes $100,000 for sidewalk improvements around the schools, $85,000 for maintenance paving and crack sealing, $25,000 for alley work and $40,000 for patching. Part of the city's road plans include spending $100,000 a year on adding wheelchair ramps at the corners of major roads to meet a federal requirement.
“If the weather cooperates, we could get three or four paved before the weather gets too cold,” Prewitt said.
Wally Terry, city community and economic development director, said they wanted to get started early in the fiscal year so the city would be first in line to put Reed to work.
“We’ve had trouble in the past because we waited and the contractor was so busy we ended up in the back of the line,” Terry said.
While some of the roads were already slated to be paved, Terry said a portion of the list comes from a paving plan developed by consultant Magnolia River. The Decatur company examined every city road and created a computer rating program for road quality.
After several years of spending only about $400,000 on paving, this is the second straight year the city will be able to spend more than $1 million on road improvements.
Councilman Billy Jackson said it’s great that the city can spend more on paving, but the fact the city is still catching up shows how far behind Decatur fell after 2008.
Jackson and Councilman Chuck Ard said it’s good the city can spend $1.4 million but they would like to do more.
The city annually collects about $600,000 in revenues from a 2-cent gas tax and this money goes into the general fund. Councilman Charles Kirby proposed last week the council shift these revenues into a paving fund.
“A whole lot of thought needs to be put into this before we move the money,” Jackson said. “We have the luxury now of having a fund balance. We need to work with the CFO to figure out what we’re going to lose that’s funded by this money and make sure it’s possible to move it.”
Decatur’s fiscal 2019 paving projects:
• Austinville/Flint/Central Parkway/Mill roads Southwest, engineering for ATRIP project - $60,000
• Fourth Avenue Southeast, between 14th Street and Eighth Street - $150,000.
• Spring Avenue Southwest, between Bradley and Clearview streets, $90,000.
• Leighsdale Avenue Southwest, between Way Thru The Woods and Sims Street - $60,000.
• Woodall Road, between Old Moulton Road and Alabama 24 - $150,000.
• Douthit Street Southwest, between Terre Haute and 15th Avenue - $54,000.
• Maintenance paving/crack sealing - $85,000.
• Vestavia Drive Southwest, Loggers Way to Spring Avenue - $125,000.
• Douthit Street, between Terre Haute and Bedford - $54,000.
• Second Street Northwest, between 12th Avenue and 13th Avenue - $18,000.
• Indian Hills Road, between Ben Poole Road and Burningtree Drive Southeast - $75,000.
• Alley work - $25,000.
• Sidewalk improvements around schools - $100,000