The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Athens & Limestone County Today

February 25, 2013

County revving up roadway projects

(Continued)

Central unit system

Another development that would affect county road and bridge projects is the possibility of the county switching from a district system to a centralized unit system.

A central unit system would consolidate the use of equipment and personnel, and funnel all roadway improvements through the engineering department. Currently, each of the four commissioners supervises a district with its own tool shed, road crews and equipment. The districts are funded by gasoline tax revenue, which is split evenly among them.

“With a central unit system, an engineer would schedule for all the districts but we would still have the district tool sheds. Down the road we might end up with two sheds on (U.S.) 72, with one north of County Line Road and one south of it,” said District 1 Commissioner Gary Daly. “I can see where you would save money and avoid duplication of services, and I don’t see any negatives. If it was set up and run right, and if it was going to save money, I would vote for (a central unit system).

During the past few months, members of the Limestone County Commission have not made any public comments about switching to a central unit system. A proposal to consider the switch was removed from consideration last September to allow people more time to study the pros and cons of swapping systems.

Chairman Stanley Menefee, who told The News Courier last August that switching to a central system potentially could save the county $2 million annually, said Limestone is one of the few remaining counties in the state to still use the district system.

After a meeting last month, Menefee said the central unit system is prevalent statewide because the role of commissioners has expanded in the past two decades.

“Commissioners aren’t just road commissioners anymore,” said Menefee, who has served as a commissioner and a chairman.

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