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Spend money paving roads, not on land

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POSTED: April 22, 2014 6:30 p.m.

On April 15, 2013, Midway Councilman Terry Doyle requested that the city attorney address his concerns about whether Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington could commit the city to spend $130,270 (over and above the amount of a project grant) to pave about one-third of a mile of Old Sunbury Trail without the approval of the city council. Doyle never received a response. Since the city council’s responsibility is to oversee the mayor, the city attorney should have made a declaration.
Yet, in an April 22, 2013, work session, the city attorney said that when he reviewed the documents, he was under the opinion that the council had voted and approved the project. Doyle spoke up and said that the council never saw the proposal, let alone voted on it.
On May 22, 2013, the mayor said that “we” submitted a budget for paving Old Sunbury. Note that she said “we.” I noticed that Doyle was the only council member who asked whether this road repair came under the road-maintenance contract with the county. Of course, the mayor — after all this time — did not know. She’d rather obligate the city than face the county.
It’s interesting that the mayor would commit the city to pave a short road but not support the road change that was needed to get McDonald’s to open a restaurant, which would have been more important to Midway.
This entire process started all over again with a Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant application to repair Lake Gale Road, which was discussed at the Oct. 30 council meeting. Although that was six months ago, the mayor still has not given the city council any information on what was submitted.
After the council agreed to use “crush and run” on Old Sunbury, a request for bids went out to pave the road. On March 10, Councilman Curtes Roberts motioned to accept a bid for $98,949.10, even though Councilwoman Melice Gerace informed council members that the 2014 budget approved Dec. 9, 2013, allotted only $68,000 for crush-and-run application. Roberts later voted against his own motion.
The city council voted twice not to pave Old Sunbury, yet the mayor defies the council and refuses to acknowledge its authority. She treats the council with condescending indifference while concealing critical information.
On March 18, the mayor met with county officials to discuss future SPLOST funds. She said she wanted SPLOST money to buy land and build a city-hall complex. The city already has land. A new complex could be built behind the existing police department. The existing police and fire buildings could be razed for parking. The money the mayor wants to spend on land could then be used to pave more streets. What is she thinking?
Midway has 14 miles of road — 10 of which are paved. The city needs to address the remaining four with SPLOST money.
I would like to know when the Midway City Council will take control of the mayor and stop allowing her to do what she pleases without the council’s knowledge and approval. The citizens of Midway need to let the mayor know that they are not pleased with how she spends the city’s money.

Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway and has written for trade publications in various fields. Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part column.

 

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