The Centreville Council gathered again via Zoom remote video conference for their scheduled May 19, 2020, meeting. What began as a likely short meeting with little on the agenda turned to a debate for the final twenty minutes after Council member Don Mack asked if everyone had seen his proposal for paving the end of Aldine Street, where he resides.
It began with a quick review of the previous meeting’s minutes and approving that as well as the most recent financial statement for the City. Then came the only actionable item on the agenda in approving the City’s Sales Tax Holiday for school supplies and related items.
The tax holiday – when school related items can be purchased free from sales tax – is slated for July 17 through 19 this year. Council Mack asked for a method of notifying local businesses of the event, as he observed several stores last year were unaware that it was happening, even during the holiday. He asked that some method besides a Facebook announcement on the City’s page be implemented for notifying local businesses, such as mailing out a flyer. All seemed in agreement that this was a good idea, and they would look into options for a notification method in coming weeks.
Councilman Calvin Elliott motioned to approve the Sales Tax Holiday, which was seconded by Councilman Matthew Thomas, and unanimously passed.
Mayor Morton then made a few announcements:
- Celebration on the Green (South Bibb’s Independence Day Celebration) is on schedule for July 11th.
- City Hall will re-open to the public May 26th, with restrictions.
- The drive-thru and improvements to City Hall will begin construction over the summer.
Then, when the Mayor asked for any items of discussion, Councilman Kenny Hicks mentioned that Edwards Street had been repaired and was now passable for Postal Workers to deliver the mail – an item that was the topic of a previous meeting’s discussion. It was this that prompted Councilman Mack to mention Aldine Street, and an estimate he had gotten from J.W. Kornegay for paving the end of it where his and two other houses are located.
Road Priorities Discussion
In a saga going back not just months, but decades, is the debate over the City of Centreville’s responsibility of ownership and maintenance of the north end of Aldine Street. Councilman Don Mack has lived in this location for over 30 years, and since the early 1990’s made repeated attempts at getting the City to maintain and improve that end-spur portion of a street that has been otherwise considered City property.
His claim was that the City annexed his property in the early 90’s, and as such, the street in front of his house was their responsibility. After being shot down multiple times, Mack was finally successful in December of 2019, when proof was brought to the Council via City Attorney Richard Kemmer.
To summarize the result of the discussion: Mack’s property was in fact annexed, and the road as shown on the associated plat map was taken with it “as-is,” to use layman’s terms. In other words, the city was obligated to maintain the road (which is not paved), but not to improve it. The Council accepted this officially at the meeting of December 17, 2019.
After that meeting, Mack stated, “I knew it was [a city street]. I just wanted them to acknowledge it. It’s not about getting it paved right now.”
Fast forward to the City Council meeting via Zoom on April 21, 2020.
During that meeting, the need to repair Edwards Street came to light, with a high priority due to the inability of Postal Carriers to traverse it and deliver mail. Mack also mentioned Aldine Street, and it being in rough condition on his end, needing repair as well. His request, however, was that it be paved – a major and costly improvement to a spur of Aldine that serves only two occupied houses including Mack’s.
Some grumblings ensued, but Street and Water Superintendent Larry Oikle said he would inspect the street and report back, after water from recent rains subsided.
Then came last night, May 19, 2020. After Mack explained that he had asked for an estimate on paving what is variably described as 200 feet – or more, depending on where you begin measuring – of the end of Aldine Street, which was estimated by Oikle at $7,700, discussion began of how many people live on that section of that street.
“How much traffic do we have on that street?” Councilman Matthew Thomas asked, “How many houses?”
Council Members and the Mayor asked Oikle for a list of the worst streets in the City’s control, and how many people live on each. In other words, which ones need repairs as first priority, based on condition and population. Oikle began naming streets off the top of his head as being in “very bad shape,” with Aldine making an appearance very far down the list because of the number of houses affected.
The discussion evolved into looking at the available funds from the gas tax revenue, possible contractors to request quotes from, and what order the repairs and pavings should be done. Mayor Morton proposed that a plan be formulated of how much they could afford to spend, and which projects should come first based on a formally written list from Oikle. The Council agreed that this should be done over the course of the summer, with next year’s budget in mind.
While Mack may not be happy that his road is further down the list, his push for the road in front of his house to be paved may have spurred a wave of road repairs around the whole City of Centreville.
To watch the video recording of the live Zoom meeting, click here.