Town talks financing for paving all streets


SILVERHILL, Alabama — At the town council meeting held Monday, Feb. 3, Silverhill Mayor Jared Lyles called financing for the paving of all town-maintained streets “do-able.”

After announcing at its Jan. 21 meeting that the town received a $250,000 Rebuild Alabama Grant for road resurfacing in 2020, council members discussed what it would take to repave all the streets under town maintenance.

Alan Killen with Civil Southeast addressed council members Feb. 3, reiterating what they were told by Superintendent of Utilities Scottie Smith at the previous meeting that repaving of the town’s approximately 10 miles of streets would cost around $700,000.

To finance the project over a 10-year period would cost about $51,635 per year, Lyles told council members. Financing over a 15-year period would cost about $37,724.

The town is currently setting aside $25,000 a year for street repaving, Lyles said, and will receive an additional $11,000 in 2020 from a recently passed state gas tax earmarked for infrastructure improvements.

While that compensation is variable, Lyles said, “I don’t see that changing much, so right now as it stands, we are able to set aside $36,000 a year for street repaving. We are not that far off from having the money we need, so it’s definitely do-able.”

The $250,000 grant will pay for resurfacing projects on First, Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh and Ninth Streets, and South Avenue. The grant would also pay for the widening of some of the streets.

The grant does not cover engineering fees, which should be covered by the $25,000 the town has already budgeted for 2020.

The resurfacing would not include Alabama 104 (Main Street), which would fall under the Alabama Department of Transportation, or County Road 55 (Broad Street), which would fall under the Baldwin County Highway Department’s jurisdiction.

In other business Feb. 3, the council adopted an ordinance approving a pay increase for the next mayor and council, which would take effect when the elected officials are sworn in following the general election in November.

The council voted unanimously at its Jan. 21 meeting to increase the salary for the mayor from $500 to $1,000 per month. Council members salaries will increase from $200 to $300 per month with no additional pay for the mayor pro tem.

Mayor and all council seats will be up for election on Aug. 25. Qualifying for the municipal races is set to begin July 7 with the deadline to qualify July 21.

According to state law, the council must approve an ordinance amendment to raise the salaries for the next mayor and council six months before the election (February).

The council also held a public hearing and voted to adopt the 2018 Building Codes for the town.

Council member Wayne Gruenloh was not present at the Feb. 3 meeting.

The council also voted at the request of Library Director Shirley Stephens to appoint Bonnie McNeil and Debbie Andrews to the town’s Library Board, removing Frankie Kucera and Steve Williams.

Lyles, who has also served as a member of the board, also said he would ask to be removed as a regular member of the board, thus freeing up another position. As mayor, Lyles serves as an honorary member of all boards.