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City ready for start of annual paving work

It looks like the yearly paving is almost ready to begin.

Public Works Director Steve Moreton told board members at Tuesdaynight’s aldermen meeting that their paving requests were all in andthe city will begin work on them as soon as possible.

That prompted more comments from Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates, whohas complained in the past that paving money should be distributedonly between the six wards, and no funds should be allotted to thealderman at large and the mayor.

In recent years, whatever money has been allotted in the budget -$320,000 this year – has been divided eight ways between the sixwards, the mayor and aldermen at large. The mayor and alderman atlarge also receive a share in order to help with projects thatmight be too costly for one ward or might fall by the waysidewithout their assistance.

In spite of a vote at the May 4 meeting that turned down Bates’assertions that the money should be divided six ways instead ofeight, he told the board Tuesday night that he continues to findfault with the system, which he said left his ward out in thecold.

“If you have a ward, you shouldn’t have to beg for your money,” hesaid.

Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson, who was not present at themeeting, has gone in with Bates on a project to pave WashingtonStreet. Several other officials pointed out that if that money werecounted in Bates’ totals, all the wards are actually within $2,000of each other in the end.

In addition, Mayor Les Bumgarner brought it to Bates’ attentionthat he never asked for any funds from either Bumgarner or Aldermanat Large Karen Sullivan.

Bates went on to say the only reason he continues to criticize theprocess is for the good of the residents Ward Two.

“I’ve got a big mouth,” he said. “I’ve got a big mouth and I’mgoing to speak up for my ward.”

After the topic of discussion moved to other areas, it was reopenedwhen Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron pointed out that hisinheritance of the Brignall community after the annexation leaveshim with what could be considered the worst-paved area in the cityproper.

“This $58,000 I have for it is nothing but a drop in the bucket,but we take what we can,” he said. “Unless we do something like abond for the streets, we can only do a few a year.”

Bumgarner told the board that it doesn’t matter how much money thecity has, there will always be a need.

“If someone came in here and said, ‘Brookhaven, here’s $50 million,we still couldn’t fix all the problems,'” he said.

Aldermen discussed the possibilities of giving all the paving moneyin a year to two wards, so that every three years each ward gets amuch larger chunk of money for paving and can complete moreprojects. Bumgarner told them it would be a good consideration forbudget time in the early fall.