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Sunshine will bring new roads

As soon as the rain stops, the work can begin.
Last week construction crews from Metro Asphalt milled the roads around the downtown revitalization area and other needed streets in preparation for street overlays. According to City Administrator Rick Childers, paving will begin just as soon as the rain clears. However, time is running out for construction crews before winter weather puts a shutdown on all paving in this part of the country.
Earlier this month the Richmond City Council approved spending $230,000 of the half-cent sales tax money to be spent on the overlays. Some streets were added and now final cost totals are in at almost $248,000.
The council on Wednesday night approved spending the additional money from the half-cent fund after weighing all the options, which included eliminating some streets from the project. However, all the streets have already been milled and must be paved.
Childers said that Royle and College streets could be added to the municipal complex fund since most of the wear and tear on those streets comes from city hall. However, not all the bills have been paid on the complex and some issues still have to be addressed with drainage and heating and cooling. In addition, the gym floor at city hall might need replacing as well.
City Finance Director Melanie Allwood said the city was already close on the half-cent fund. She said about $400,000 is left in the fund but not all bills from the Wellington project have been paid yet. Allwood said an additional $17,000 this year would just mean that much less money available next year, however, she said $17,000 is less than what the tax brings in during a month’s time period.
“It just depends on the timing,” Allwood said. “We continue to get sales tax money in all the time. We get more than $17,000 in a month. It depends on when the payment is due.”
Childers said the STP grant funds being used on the downtown revitalization are about to close and the city can reapply for new grants, which they have already done.
Councilman Scott Marshall has been beating the drum of overlays and said the extra money should be spent in anticipation of grant funds.
“Even if we do the $17,000 this year, we’re still looking at doing $300,000 of overlays next year,” Marshall said.
The Wellington Street project is nearly complete. Childers said some sod work and the movement of power line polls is the only thing left to do. The council voted Wednesday night to return Wellington Street back to a two-way street. Childers said some residents are already using it as a one-way street.
In other actions:
The council authorized the purchase of a mini-excavator for more than $46,000. The city has been renting one for the last several months. The excavator will be used for a number of jobs including grave digging, water repair and sewer line replacement.
City officials said the machine will allow flexibility for city workers and will allow them to handle more than one situation at a time.
The city also purchased a new dump truck for the cemetery using part of a $35,000 donation to the cemetery. The truck is a 2003 and cost about $17,000.

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