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Argo City Council hears APPLE grant recommendations for road improvements

By Nathan Prewett

For The Tribune

ARGO — The regular meeting of the Argo City Council on Monday night began with an engineering firm speaking on funding for road projects, part of an APPLE grant the Council discussed at previous meetings.

Argo Council on June 11, 2018. Photo by Nathan Prewett.

Richard Caudle from Skipper Consulting provided an outline recommending how to acquire funding partners and implementation plans to begin projects on Highway 11, Argo Parkway, and Argo Margaret Road.

A four-phase plan was proposed, with phase one being construction of a deceleration lane on I-59 northbound at the Argo Parkway exit. Phase two would create a right turn lane and deceleration lane on the I-59 northbound off ramp. Phase three would provide improvements on the intersection of Highway 11 and Argo Parkway where phase four would improve the intersection of Highway 11 at Argo-Margaret Road.

“And the idea is that once all of the pieces of the puzzle, so to speak, were completed, you would have a complete product that would basically allow a lane which would exit the interstate and continue on through the two traffic signals, turn right on to Argo-Margaret Road, all the way from Interstate 59 to Argo-Margaret Road,” he said.

Caudle said that the Alabama Department of Transportation will perform phase one with its own funds. He also stated that Skipper Consultant’s opinion was that the “most reasonable funding category to pursue” would be through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement or CMAQ federal funds in four-year increments.

80 percent of the CMAQ funds would come from the federal government with a 20 percent local required match. The local agencies could include Argo, other cities and the county. Caudle said that another option would be to commit to the $6 million project “all at the same time” but that the city would likely prefer doing it in phases.

Skipper Consulting made five other recommendations, which were: Verifying that ALDOT will still perform phase one with its own funds; approaching ALDOT to consider performing phase two with its own funds; find local funding partners to provide the match money; request that the Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO for engineering of phase two if ALDOT doesn’t agree to do it; and request MPO to include utilities and construction for phase 3.

Later in the meeting, Argo Mayor Betty Bradley asked permission from the Council to meet with potential funding partners, particularly with Trussville, Jefferson County, Margaret and Springville. The Council approved the mayor’s request authorizing her to begin setting up meetings.

Argo Police Chief James Downing gave a report on calls from the month of May. He said there were 10 misdemeanor warrants served, 15 false alarms, 12 domestic violence calls, 101 officer assists, 91-911 calls, 276 patrol requests, 62 public assistance, 17 drivers license violations, and nine marijuana arrests.

Afterwards, the Council heard from Sgt. Mike Jennings from the police department who spoke on the possibility of holding “youth drug classes” at City Hall to educate a target audience of five to 18-year-olds on drug use. Jennings said the classes would be no charge to the city and that publications for drug education have been provided by the Foundation for a Drug Free World.

“These are basically the kids coming in the schools,” he said. “They need to know what drugs look like, they need to know what they are, they need to know what they can do to them. Most of our crime is surrounded around drugs.”

The council approved Jennings’ request.

Argo Fire Chief, Heath Smith, gave a report on May’s calls, stating there were 32 calls that were medical in addition to three woods/grass fires, two structure fires, five motor vehicle accidents, one car fire, two blood pressure checks and six service calls.

Smith said he hopes to begin a “citizen fire academy” that can provide fire prevention and medical assistance education for residents in the late summer or early fall. During classes, he hopes to pass out fire extinguishers recently donated by Amerex Corporation in Trussville. 200 extinguishers were donated to the department, he said.

Smith also reported that in May the department added three new volunteers to its staff as well as two certified firemen.

Councilor Ann Brown briefly addressed signs being picked up by city maintenance members, with some of them being left over from political events. She requested that anyone in the public who puts up signs to remove once their events or promotions are over.

In other business, the council:

  • Agreed to solicit an expert to look at a malfunctioning door at the police department building;
  • Tabled an ordinance regarding city trucks;
  • Discussed bids on municipal building bids and approved implementing them in phases;
  • Heard a report from Councilor Gordon (Corkey) Massey, who said that he met with a county engineer on road paving and hopes to have a contract drawn up for the mayor to sign at the next meeting; and
  • Formally passed a combined burn permit and fee ordinance.

The next Argo City Council meeting will be held on June 25 at 6 p.m.

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