North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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June 27, 2013

Morris residents furious that streets still not paved


MORRIS — Countywide problem

The north Jefferson subdivisions are by no means the only ones having trouble getting their roads paved.

In Jefferson County, more than 75 subdivisions have not received their topcoat of asphalt, according to Tracy Pate, chief civil engineer at the Jefferson County Roads and Transportation Department.

Officials say many of the developers’ bonds are underwater: The cost of the work is more than the bonds are worth.

One of the big problems in Morris is that there is not even a bond on the project, meaning the city of Morris has little leverage to compel the developer complete the work.

However, the Morris City Council on Monday heard the first reading of an ordinance that would require a paving bond for contractors. It will hear the second reading at the next council meeting on July 23 and vote then on whether to adopt the ordinance.

Even if the council adopts the ordinance, it will not affect the Overbrook subdivision.

A bond basically works like this: If a developer fails to finish a project, a city can revoke his bond, meaning the bonding company would be responsible for the amount of the bond if the developer skips out. A developer can also get a bond in the form of a certificate of deposit, made payable to both the developer and to the city, and requiring the signature of both to release the bond.

However, with bonds being underwater, they would still not provide enough money to finance the paving projects even if cities did revoke them.

Meanwhile in Morris, Overbrook residents are still imploring the city council to help them get their streets paved.

“I’m very proud of where I live,” said resident Kelly Williamson at the meeting. “It’s a beautiful place. But it’s embarrassing (because of the streets). We feel very much taken advantage of because we spent a lot of money on those homes.”

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