Funding sought for Rhea County road projects

Funding sought for Rhea County road projects

February 8th, 2011 By Kimberly McMillian, Correspondent in News

Photo by Kimberly McMillian Residents have voiced concerns about the deep ruts on Purser Road off Old Washington Highway in Dayton, Tenn. At least six highly-traveled county roads have the Rhea County Highway Department reviewing additional funding to accommodate repairs.

DAYTON, Tenn. -- Residents of Purser Road in Dayton recently voiced their concerns about the road's deterioration at a weekly meeting of the Rhea County Purchase and Finance Committee.

Nelson Scoggins, who spoke on his elderly parents' behalf, said the road "has a lot of ruts," and he asked county road Superintendent Tommy Snyder to consider it for repairs this year.

Snyder said he'd spoken with the Tennessee County Services Loan Program about the county's borrowing $2 million from its "loan pool" later this year to use for paving.

In a separate interview late last week, Snyder said he was "going to see if we qualify for it."

In 1998, the county borrowed $1 million to make repairs along 51 miles of roads and paid it off with revenue from its mineral tax.

Snyder said that the price of hot-mix asphalt had increased to more than $70 per ton, a contrast to the $20 per ton nearly 13 years ago. That would allow for nearly 30 miles of county road improvements, he said.

The county uses $50,000 from its mineral tax as a "guaranteed revenue stream" and $170,000 from property taxes for road repairs annually, he said.

If the loan is approved, officials would make a determination on the costs per mile in each of the county's nine districts, he said.

Snyder said the price index for fuel per ton of hot-mix asphalt will help determine how much road work is allotted per district.

There are at least six roads that the highway department has identified as being in need of repairs or about which residents have expressed concerns.

The Rhea County Commission will discuss the $2 million loan for road repairs at its next workshop today at 6 p.m.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.