The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 16, 2013

Councilman deftly delays road paving

— Athens City Councilman Joseph Cannon deftly delayed a vote Monday that would have allowed the city to spend $40,000 to pave Village Lane.

The road — which serves 14 homes on a cul-de-sac south of U.S. 72 and east of Interstate 65 — has not been paved for 25 to 27 years, residents told council members before the vote.

District 2 Council President Harold Wales, in whose district the road lies, put the item on Monday’s agenda for consideration. The road is one of the 25 or so residential streets identified by the council in March as needing to be paved.

Cannon, a first-year member of the council and, at age 32, its youngest member, said he did not oppose paving the road. However, after driving the road twice in the past few days, he questioned the priority of the road over other roads on the list.

“I want to pave roads based on priority, not seniority,” Cannon told The News Courier after the meeting. He believes the council needs to prioritize the list it identified in March and follow it accordingly.

During the work session before the meeting, Cannon pressed Wales, Councilman Jimmy Gill and Councilman Wayne Harper to delay the vote so he could determine the priority of paving Village Lane over other streets.

He questioned the street’s low population, its location on a cul-de-sac and its low traffic count compared to others on the list. He said other roads, such as Linton Road, which comes up for paving approval soon, makes more sense because its house and traffic counts are higher and because it leads to a developing area. The other roads would bring more rooftops, which would lure more retail development, Cannon said.

Council members declined to delay the vote, mainly because Village Lane was included on the priority list already established even if the list itself is not prioritized.

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