During the April 20 meeting of the Perry County Fiscal Court, Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander and court members discussed recent issues with roads throughout the county, as well as the lack of available funding to resolve some of the ongoing issues.
“Our road costs are a lot more than normal this month,” said Alexander. “We’ve been through two major events and I think our gravel ran about $100,000 during those events just to start with. Other than that, everything is about the same.”
The recent storm damage and flooding, Alexander said, caused several incidents of road breaks and other related problems.
“Just the last two events alone, we had 199 (incidents) — not all were road breaks, those were culverts gone, roads gone and breaks in the road,” said Alexander.
Funding for these breaks, he said, are hard to come by, especially for smaller fiscal courts.
“What we have to do, where we’re a small fiscal court, we have to pay for this stuff up front. Once you pay for this — once FEMA approves — once you pay for it, FEMA will reimburse you this money. So what we have to do is do about six plus rail and crew jobs at a time, then when FEMA reimburses us, go out and do six or seven more. That’s about the cash flow we can handle at this point,” Alexander said.
The road budget, he said, has been decreasing over the years.
“In 2014, our county road aid was $300,000 more than it is now, so we’ve really been pushing our state senate. I think the governor is on board, I think the House of Representatives are on board and we’ve been pushing our leadership in Senate at the state level,” said Alexander. “The cost for blacktop has probably doubled since then.”
Although the costs have risen, Alexander said, the county’s available funds for those expenditures have not.
“With the CARES money, it’s not allowed to be used for blacktop,” he said. “It’s rare to find any help for roads and until the state senate addresses it, our budget continues to go down. The road (budget) is where we desperately need help. We push and push the state leadership, we testified, we talked to them that we critically need more funding in our roads.”
After discussing the budget and road breaks, the Perry County Fiscal Court made motions and approved the County Road Aid Cooperative Program agreement in the amount of $1,259,513.61, and approved a resolution adopting and approving the execution of a County Road Aid Cooperative Program for the fiscal year beginning July 2021.