• 68°

UB chairman: Florala roadwork ‘worth it’

Florala Utilities board chairman Marvin Williford describes the recently announced “Main Street project” the “best investment in Florala in a long time.”

While the $485,000 project will partially deplete the board’s cash savings, Williford said once the project is completed, it will be “money well spent” to see the new water and sewer pipes removed from the middle of Fifth Avenue.

“The main reason we decided to do this project is the state has said they will not repave Fifth Avenue until the pipes are moved,” he said. “Instead of waiting two and a half years for any kind of grant opportunity, the board decided they did not want to watch our street deteriorate anymore. We want to get it done.”

Williford said bids for the project, which will run new piping from the Mastar Building to the water tower near Piggly Wiggly, will be let in November.

Construction is expected to begin in January with completion in “three months, I hope,” Williford said.

“It’s a good thing the board saved all that money all those years,” he said. “If you’ve driven down Main Street, you can tell that something needs to be done. We’re not digging up the old pipes. We’re going to install new ones and they will not be down the middle of the road.

“Of course it makes me nervous (to spend the large amount of money),” he said. “I’m worried, afraid that once we get going, it may cost more than we have budgeted for. We have a small reserve but we don’t want to exhaust it.”

Earlier this month, the board voted to increase water rates in January to help “replenish the reserve” for future capital improvement projects.

“This project is worth it,” he said. “It’s worth the money we’re going to have to spend — not only because it will benefit all citizens but it will get the road in good shape so people can enjoy coming through town without complaining to the police department that (the road is) messing up their car.

“So I would definitely say it’s going to be money well spent.”