Setting priorities is not ridiculous

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The issue: City streets need sidewalks, repair, curb and gutter.

Our position: A task this size should have priorities set.

The basics of handling a big job include setting priorities.

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Failing to prioritize a work load results in inefficiency, and generally, inefficiency leads to wasted time and money.

Knowing these things, then it seems strange that Mayor James Perkins Jr. would call a request for a list of streets that need to be repaired &8220;ridiculous.&8221;

There&8217;s no exact science to setting priorities, but it would seem that the city would want to take care of its infrastructure.

After all, a major component of economic development rests in the infrastructure of a city or county.

A new business or industry does not want to come to a city with poor streets, bad drainage and substandard water and sewer.

Street repair, curbs and gutters haven&8217;t ranked high on overall city priority for years. This isn&8217;t Perkins&8217; fault. He inherited a poor system of maintenance and some areas that never received attention.

Yet, during the last 7 1/2 years, those same streets still haven&8217;t received much attention. Perkins should shoulder responsibility for not bringing this to the forefront long before the last remaining months of his second term.

The way you eat a pie is one bite at a time. The way you take on a large project is one task at a time.

Many cities have citizens boards appointed from each ward to put together lists of streets each year that need repairing. These volunteers help keep politics out of the process by working together. Each portion of the city receives some attention.

Lists are put together and the public works director oversees the projects. They are completed and the people are pleased. The work is divided evenly among various wards.

Little by little streets made the repaired list. This is not an overnight fix. It is long-term planning.

Additionally, as the streets come up to standards, they are placed on a revolving maintenance schedule, so that they do not fall into disrepair.

From what we&8217;ve observed and read about, an orderly, systematic method of repairing infrastructure is a more efficient use of taxpayers&8217; dollars.

Setting priorities requires careful examination of the task and making lists.

Here in Selma, we have yet to see a year plan, a three-year plan, a five-year plan or any rational approach to managing the city&8217;s repair needs.

On Monday night, Mayor Perkins called a list of streets needing to be repaired &8220;ridiculous.&8221;

Perhaps the mayor has another solution. Perhaps he has a plan. If he does, we&8217;d like for him to share it with the community.