Despite Jefferson County's financial condition, county commissioners want to see more road paving and grass cutting.
The issue came up Tuesday in committee meetings with county commissioners and County Manager Tony Petelos. FOX6 reported that some county roads with the city limits of municipalities needed repair work. Brighton and Lipscomb are just two examples of cash-strapped cities that need assistance.
"We have some poor cities and that is where the county must take that step forward to fix those streets. Citizens deserve better," Sandra Little Brown, Jefferson Co. Commissioner, said.
Petelos is sympathic to the cities needs but the county manager said since 2009 the cities have been informed if they have county roads within their city limits it's their responsibility.
"When the occupational tax was lost the county canceled the through-road agreements. The law says the roads are the responsibility of of the municipalities," Petelos said.
Petelos said due to the county's poor financial condition the county has trimmed its workers in roads and transportation from more than 600 to below 200. The county manager estimates there are about 400 miles of county roads within the city limits.
"If we took over the responsibilities again, it would be very difficult for us," Petelos said.
Grass cutting is another issue. Employees at Minor High School had to cut part of the median in front of the school because of overgrown vegetation was blocking the view of their young drivers. The city of Adamsville does not have the equipment to cut the Minor Parkway median and Mayor Pam Palmer wanted the county to do the work.
Petelos tells FOX6 the median cut in front of the school is sufficient to public safety and he said there is no need for the county to cut the rest of the parkway. "We can't keep up with grass cutting. We are only going to cut grass in the county areas where it's a safety issue," Petelos said.
Jefferson County commissioners want Petelos to produce a report on the cost and analysis of providing the work. The county manager says the next year's fiscal budget will have more money for equipment for roads and transportation. Petelos hopes a federal judge overseeing the county's hiring practices will allow the county to bring in more workers. A hearing is set for Birmingham later this week.
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