Road project spending concerns council president
by James Phillips
Mar 02, 2011 | 2049 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper City Council member Johnny Rollins said Tuesday he’s concerned about the city’s finances due to money being spent on an access road to the new Jasper Industrial Park.

Rollins, who represents District 2 and is the current council president, said during Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Jasper City Council the city is using money from its General Fund for the road construction until promised funds from the Alabama Department of Transportation arrive. If the state’s money doesn’t come soon, Rollins said he felt the city would find itself in a “financial crunch.”

“If we don’t get the payment from the state and we keep taking money out of the General Fund, the city could be broke,” he said. “We need that state money to get here real quick.”

Gary Cowen, District 3 councilman, said he didn’t feel like the city would have a problem getting the funds from the state.

“This is an ALDOT project by proxy,” he said. “I don’t think it is something they can walk away from.”

Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said newly-elected State Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is keeping “close tabs” on the funding.

“He is aware of the situation and will be sure that the money gets here,” Posey said.

Talk of the road project funding began after Public Works Director Joe Matthews approached council members for approval of change orders on the road for erosion control. He said the changes would be a difference of $6,872 and the funds would come from the Jasper Industrial Development Board.

The road project’s total cost is now estimated at $3.8 million, which is $300,000 over budget. Matthews said all overages are coming out of JIDB funding. The bulk of the project is being paid from $2.5 million from ALDOT and a $760,000 HUD grant.

The council unanimously approved the requested change orders.

In other action, the Council:

•Approved sending bid invitations for yearly contracts to provide grease, oil and lubricants.

•Approved bids for uniform rental services from Unifirst, pool chemicals from Leslie’s Pools and fuel from Petroleum Traders (gasoline) and Jasper Oil (diesel).

•Approved travel expenses for magistrates to attend required certification maintenance seminars and for city attorney Russ Robertston to attend an annual legal seminar.

•Approved an ordinance annexing a parcel of land located at 106 North Gamble Road.

•Appointed Teresa Sherer to the District 2 position on the Jasper Board of Education.

•Approved $1,000 in travel expenses for two all-star basketball teams from the city to compete in Gadsden.

•Moved the next council meeting to March 22.