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Commission talks roads, gas tax



Butler County Commissioners recently discussed road conditions, staggered terms and passed a gas tax resolution at their Jan. 10 meeting.

The gas tax resolution is to be jointly filed with other county commission resolutions to the state legislature in an effort to get a three cent gas tax bill passed, of which, the proceeds would go directly to fixing the problem of minor roads in the counties. The tax, if eventually passed, would still be doled out to counties by the current system where major populations get the majority of funds, but still would help addressing the failing roads and bridges of all counties.

Under current gas tax laws, all monies received must be used for major collector roads, such as Halso Mill, Airport, Forest Home and Honoraville Roads. The difference in this tax, according to Butler County Engineer Dennis McCall would be that the tax would end after the $1.2 billion needed for Alabama’s 67 counties infrastructure needs were met.

The states recent ATRIP projects were a big success for resurfacing most of the major collector roads in Butler County and this project is termed ATRIP 2. According to McCall in his presentation given to the commissioners, ATRIP 2 is a three cent bond issue, with a sunset term, that would generate over $1.2 billion to be spent on road and bridge improvements and would fun over 12,300 miles of road resurfacing projects and 450 new bridge structures.

The estimated cost per average Butler County driver would be less than $2 a month and would have a $54 million impact in the form of new jobs, safety improvements and lower vehicle maintenance costs.

The staggered term idea is being promoted by Commissioner Jesse McWilliams as a way to ensure there is not a whole scale loss, in the event that all five commissioners were ousted in an election, of the knowledge gained of how the county functions and the legal procedures to keep it running. After discussing McWilliams proposal in the workshop, all five commissioners agreed to table the item in their regular business meeting until a public hearing could be held which would allow input from Butler County citizens.

Other items discussed and approved at the commission meeting were a request for proposal for an inmate pay phone by Sheriff Kenny Hardin, a change to work related travel expense from 54 cents to 53.5 cents a mile, the Butler County Correctional Facility report, the EMA Director report, the Engineer’s report which included an approval to purchase a trench compactor and authorization to seek bids for an excavator and to pay the county’s bills. With all business concluded the meeting was adjourned.
The public hearing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 just before the next workshop and business meeting of the commission.

The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 4:30 p.m. with the open hearing to begin, afterwards the commissioners will move to their workshop and then business meeting.


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