The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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July 16, 2013

Councilman deftly delays road paving


Residents speak

Before the vote, two residents of Village Lane asked the council to approve the repaving.

Tom Smith said it had been 25 to 27 years since the city had paved Village Lane, though he said the city had “filled potholes with tar,” over the years. The last time the road was paved, Smith said, property owners had to pay $500 toward the cost of the project.

(Mayor Ronnie Marks told The News Courier after the meeting residents had to pay to pave the road because the road had not yet been annexed into the city.)

“I realize we are just 14 houses,” Smith said. “We are not a big voting bloc. This is not a big political thing. We feel we are as entitled as those streets with 40 or 50 people (to have our road paved.)”

Resident Harry Joiner said he moved to Village Lane in 1987, and that the road had not been paved since.

“The city has not spent any money on Village Lane,” he said. “I’d hate to wait another 27 years.”

Wales asked the council for a vote to suspend the rules so the resolution could be introduced and voted on at the same meeting. Council members Wales, Gill and Harper voted “yea,’ while Cannon voted “nay.”

Cannon then invoked a rule approved earlier by the council allowing a member to delay action on a resolution until the next schedule meeting if the resolution proposes spending money that has not yet been budgeted by the council.

With the matter officially delayed, Wales said to Cannon, “I’m disappointed in that but probably you will be disappointed in me some time.”

After the meeting, former District 4 Councilman Jim Hickman, whom Cannon unseated, asked The News Courier to note that he was “very proud” of Cannon for his tactful effort to slow down the process and look closely at the expenditure.

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