Residents want County Road 17 to be paved

Published 8:43 pm Monday, November 13, 2017

Much like they have in the past, residents on Dallas County Road 17 showed up to the Dallas County Commission meeting Monday to ask about having their road repaved.

Beth Wilson, a resident of the county road, spoke for a group of residents during Monday’s meeting. She said the road is full of potholes and has become a safety hazard.

“The safety of the people that live on that road is one of the main concerns that I have,” Wilson told the commissioners. “I know you came and put the yellow mark down the center … and we appreciate that, but as a result everybody is traveling down the middle of the road now to avoid the potholes.”

A county road crew came out Monday morning and filled several potholes, but Wilson said they are hoping for a more permanent fix than just patching.

“We spoke before, and at one time, Judge [Kim] Ballard, you said what about if we pave it to 946? Everybody in here was in favor of that, but then nothing was done,” Wilson said.

Ballard said that was discussed in the past, but some residents were not in favor of that route.

“They didn’t want that,” Ballard said. “I have advocated from day one that we pave a portion of it each year. Well, that wasn’t a quick fix. Jan [Justice] and some of the others wanted it all or nothing.”

Justice, who didn’t make it to the meeting but has advocated for the road in the past, said that wasn’t true. She said they were in favor of having the road repaved section by section, and it just didn’t get done.

Commissioner Larry Nickles, whose district includes County Road 17, said it would cost $440,000 per mile to pave and a total of $3.3 million for the entire project.

“We will take what we can get if you can pave a little bit of it each year. That would be wonderful,” Wilson said.

Ballard said the county could do that and said it would start next year.

Wilson also told commissioners that residents that live along County Road 17 pay a larger portion of property taxes than other roads that need paving.

“We do pay a good share of taxes down there compared to some of the other roads that need paving, and I’m saying that because as you drive down these other roads, you do not see the type of homes that we have down our road, so that is one thing I’d like you to take into consideration,” she said.

Nickles said the county is doing what it can with the money it gets from taxes, which he said are amongst the lowest in the area.

“I’ve been a county commissioner for nine years. We have never added mill taxes or ad valorem taxes. We have the lowest taxes in our area,” he said. “We’re trying to do what we can y’all with what funds are available. Don’t anybody want to pay three times more property taxes.”

Nickles said he has advocated to legislators in the past to get smaller roads reclassified so they can get funding, but he said he had no help.

County engineer Coosa Jones said the county also advocated for an increase in gasoline tax, which would have helped the county pave roads, but it did not pass.

The road has not been eligible in the past for funding because it is a dead-end road.