City Council starts road improvement process

Alderman Jack Burson reminded fellow City Council members at the May meeting that the next round of street improvements will soon be at hand and there’s a tidy sum to allocate.

Customary practice, he noted, is for each of the four ward council members to submit a list to him, as alderman-at-large, of possible overlay projects in their districts.

Then, he said, he and the mayor will huddle to consider where to put the at-large portion in order to get the most benefit for the bucks.

Mayor Bob Morris asked why the mayor does not get a portion of the capital outlay appropriation, since that job is also elected.

Burson told him that the current dividing process began in the administration of Ken Peart and has remained that way. He did not recall why or how the system evolved.

The city conducts is street improvement program every other fiscal year.

During the current year, which expires on June 30, it earmarked $500,000 for overlay, to be banked this year and spent next.

Additionally, the proposed budget for the year beginning July 1 includes another $400,000 for road work, creating a potential total of $900,000 for street projects.

Current industry guidelines are that a mile of blacktop overlay at standard thickness costs $180,000 to $200,000.

Consulting engineer Andre Aucoin told the council the city should hear in June whether it has received a Community Block Grant for repairing parts of a number of streets, most of them in Alderman Dale Soileau’s district.

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