Deteriorating Jefferson County roads have led to an emergency situation. A hole in Tarrant is growing. There's fear it could become a large sinkhole. It's prompting concern about lingering problems, like bad roads and long car tag lines.
For years, Jefferson County commissioners have talked about these problems. Now, they say they're finding the money to fix the roads and eliminate the car tag lines.
Springdale Road in Tarrant was once a bad, bumpy road. It is now too unsafe to drive."It came up all at once. The cracks came in. Traffic kept coming. Next thing you know, there's a hole," said Clipper Crawford, service manager of Dixie Drilling and Apache Construction.
The closure of the road nearly two months ago is now putting a hole into nearby company's wallet."It's costing us business cause it hampers us from getting out to work, people coming in to get supplies," said Crawford.
The hole is the size of a softball. But it is getting larger, so the commission agreed to fixing it for 75 hundred dollars.
Commissioners are now calling for a plan to fix other roads and to speed up car tag lines. There are hopes new software and equipment will solve that problem in January. There are also conversations about opening another car tag office in the Hoover area. But commissioners still want a plan b. It will cost more money.
12 million dollars set aside for bankruptcy legal fees is now available."It's time to apply that money to the citizens of Jefferson County," said Commissioner Jimmie Stephens.
But Commission President David Carrington says that money was initially set aside for debt repayment and the county must start making payments again. That leaves no additional money.
"I think without significant influx of general fund money, one can expect we will fund it at half the level as times past," said Carrington.
Some taxpayers say that not enough."It shouldn't take an emergency. That's what you pay your taxes for. You should get a response," said Crawford.
County leaders are looking to economic development as a way to generate more money and to help restore services.