Trussville may sue JeffCo over bad roads
TRUSSVILLE - AL —
Jefferson County is facing yet another lawsuit. This one is over deteriorating road conditions in Trussville.
Back in 2009, reduced funding and staff made it impossible for Jefferson County to maintain all roads. That's when responsibility was turned over to the cities making them at fault in the event of an accident.
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton wants the county to resume responsibility.
"We understand they aren't coming. We can't turn a blind eye to it," said Melton. "You go anywhere in Jefferson County inside the city on a country road, there's a big pothole or sinkhole or something happens and you call the county today, they'll tell you we gave it to the municipality in 2009. You need to call them."
ABC 33/40 drove all five county roads in Trussville. Roper Road and Deerfoot Parkway was smooth. It got bumpy onQqueenstown Road and jolty on Chalkville-Trussville Road and Clay-Trussville Road due to potholes.
Melton doesn't want to be sued if someone gets hurt. That's why he may sue and ask a judge to force the county to resume responsibility for the roads.
A 1995 state statute requires counties to be responsible and maintain the roads. It's been upheld in legal battles twice.
Commissioner Joe Knight knows a lawsuit could be heading Jefferson County's way."It would be money much better spent addressing the problems then defending it. I think that's where you gotta go," said Knight who represents Trussville.
Knight is proposing meetings with mayors and help from state lawmakers.
"We need to revisit with our legislature and say, 'we are all in this together. How can we fix the problems? these are the problems?,'" said Knight.
Tuesday night, the mayor may ask the city council to give him permission to sue the county. Melton says a lawsuit won't be filed immediately just if nothing gets resolved soon.