By Lee Weyhrich
CLAY — It will cost $3 million to $4 million to repave roads in the city of Clay, but only $175,000 in bond money is available, City Manager Ronnie Dixon said at Monday’s Clay City Council meeting.
When the Jefferson County Commission realized it could no longer meet its road upkeep obligations, those obligations were turned over, at great expense, to the municipalities.
The bonds that had been collected by the county to be used for road work were also turned over to the municipalities. These bonds, in many cases, cover only 1 percent of the work for which they are earmarked.
These bonds were purchased by real estate developers, many of whom went bankrupt before their projects were finished. Many of the roads were left with only the road bed completed.
The council’s first priority is to resurface Old Springville Road, which alone will cost upwards of $1 million. Only $373,074.92 in city funds are currently available for road paving. The council is working on options to complete the work.
Janice Drake, a residence of Steeplechase, came forward to discuss the conditions of the roads in her neighborhood. According to Drake, the roads in Steeplechase are little more than a collection of potholes and patches, making driving difficult. Dixon said the developers didn’t finish the subdivision roads, so they need the wearable surface installed.
Dixon said the main roads in the city also need milling and resurfacing. The last work was done in the 1990s, he said.
Although the road conditions aren’t optimal, there will soon be more police cars available to patrol them. The council voted to purchase two police cars from the city of Mountain Brook for $6,500. The two cars are coming with more than 100,000 miles each, but they are also coming fully equipped with lights, rear cages and other amenities.
“The lights themselves are (worth) over $4,000,” Mayor Charles Webster said. “The equipment inside them alone is worth more than (what we are paying).”
One car needs around $500 in repairs. Both cars are great deals even if they were only stripped for their parts, Webster said.