Braswell Road residents: Why did work stop?

Published 12:12am Wednesday, March 13, 2013

About 30 county residents attended Tuesday’s commission workshop meeting in support of reinstating a paving project on Braswell Road.

The project was begun by the last administration and money was allocated in the current budget for the project. But the current administration froze all paving projects.

The road, also called “Harold’s road,” because it is the home of Commissioner Harold Elmore.

Early in the meeting, Commission Chairman Bill Godwin said he didn’t believe the commission properly authorized the paving of the road. He said had asked Pam Steele to research the minutes and that she couldn’t find a “proper order” of the commission for the project. But later in the meeting – after the crowd in favor of the road left – he asked the commission to “rescind authority for engineer to solicit bids for Braswell Road.”

“There’s your order,” county attorney Julie Moody said.

Work was under way on the road, and at least eight people had signed an agreement that allowed trees to be cut from private property in support of the project. One of them, Keith Hines, allowed the county to cut down 25 16-year-old oaks and about 75 16-year-old pines. His trees are gone and the paving project has been halted.

Jason Elmore grew up on the road and is rearing a family there now. He said that the commission has lost sight of the fact that Commissioner Elmore isn’t the only resident.

“You allotted money for the paving,” he said. “What’s the reason you’re not paving it?”

It was a question Sherry Worley asked several times.

“You started the road and then, boom, you just stopped it?” she asked. “The money was there and it was allotted for the paved road, why can’t you finish it?

Commissioner Joe Barton, who is in opposition to the project, said, “Some of the roads that have been paved in the past got priority because of whatever political reasons or who lived on the road. Majority of roads either had a commissioner or somebody like that living on them.”

Elmore said in previous administrations, commissioners, did things and money was appropriated.

“It’s in the budget to pave the road,” he said. “First thing this new administration done was froze the money. It was in the paper last week our auditors said that the county was in best financial shape county’s been in in 25 years. I’m sorry, I just don’t know.”

When asked from the audience about the item, county administrator Brenda Petty said the project was budgeted and the budget has not been amended.

“It’s just been frozen,” she said.

No vote was taken, but rescinding the authorization to take bids is an action item on Thursday night’s agenda.



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