The Hendersonville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to 12-1 to give final approval to move $500,000 from the General Fund to the Supplemental Paving budget.
Two amendments, sponsored by Mayor Jamie Clary, to appropriate $1.5 million and $1 million instead of $500,000 failed.
The ordinance moves the City further down the list of the paving plan put together by Public Works Department staff.
In addition to the already planned roads for the next three months, segments of Berrywood Drive, Hickory Trail, Shady View Drive, Shawnee Drive, Shute Lane, Melanie Drive, and Southern Trace will also be paved with the additional $500,000.
The ordinance passed with a provision that any money not spent by the end of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, will go back into the General Fund.
Rogers Group’s commitment
Although the City has not spent the rest of their remaining paving budget, Jared Nix, representative from Rogers Group, the paving company the City uses, assured BOMA that the roads could be finished by the end of June.
He said that Rogers Group was waiting to see how much money BOMA was allocating before scheduling paving so that they could group roads together to not have to be “bouncing in and out.”
“We were trying to wait until we understood what the $500,000 looked like so we could group them all together at the same time,” Nix said.
He said that even with potentially adding the $1.5 million worth of roads, the paving would only take about four weeks. Nix also said that the company would move both of their paving crews to Hendersonville if needed to finish on time.
Aldermen pointed out other projects that the money may be needed for in the General Fund next year such as the intersection realignment project at Walton’s Ferry and Old Shackle Island and the rising construction costs of the new fire station.
Ward 5 Alderman Rachel Collins said that she felt taking $1 million out of the general fund right now for paving right now would jeopardize the City’s ability to commit $2.8 million to paving “forever and ever amen.”
Discussion on the amendments was testy. Ward 3 Alderman Arlene Cunningham said she felt she had been misled to believe that all the money in the paving budget had already been spent. She pointed out seven roads that had not been started and $694,487 had not yet been spent.
Other aldermen explained that the projects were planned, but that the money would not be spent until they were completed.
Cunningham was the sole “no” vote against the ordinance.
“I have more questions than answers on this,” she said.
Ward 1 Alderman Mark Skidmore and Ward 6 Alderman Eddie Roberson both said that if aldermen were not comfortable with the amount of money being spent, their ward’s roads could be removed from the list.
“If any alderman is concerned about the money in this $500,000, I would be willing to take their roads off this list,” Roberson said. “So if Ward 3 objects to spending $500,000 more in paving, I will be glad to amend my motion and take Shady View Dr. off the list to be paved, and we can put that money in the rainy day fund.”
“I would say that if Ward 3 does not agree with this…, we just take Ward 3’s roads out of the equation,” Skidmore said.
Cunningham said she felt she was being threatened by the aldermen. Skidmore and Roberson denied their language was threatening, saying they meant that aldermen could vote to remove their roads from the list only if they wanted to.