Many of the roads around Jasper are in need of resurfacing, but officials have different ideas about how to do all the work.
At the September meeting of the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mayor Paul Evans said Phillips Avenue, Mimosa Street, Cash Road, Seventh Street and Danny Drive were at the top of the list for repaving.
He said the work would be done by the Marion County Highway Department for $110,184.
"We were looking to get another price to compare with, but I don't have it yet," Evans said. "We're running out of time to get at least some of it done because they'll be closing the asphalt plant when it turns cold."
Alderman Paul West said the county highway department's price historically has been hard to beat.
However, the county's price is "significantly" higher than estimates from two years ago, Alderman Josh Jennings said.
"I wish we had something else to compare this to, but the highway department has been very good to us," Evans said.
"I think we need to move forward," Alderman Leon Rash said.
The board voted unanimously to approve the work.
Resident Gina Campbell said she lives on Phillips Avenue, but Maple Street and Elm Street around Jasper Middle School are in "worse shape" than the streets on the list.
"All the way from Maple to the corner of Third [Street], it's just a mess," she told the board.
Maple Street was not on the town's list because a sewer rehabilitation project is scheduled there soon and the road will have to be "dug up" anyway, Evans said.
"There's no need of going ahead and resurfacing that," he said. "We're going to be digging that thing up here in the next month or so. It will be resurfaced, but it will be a part of the sewer rehab and not this paving [project]."
Elm Street could be on the town's paving list in the spring, but that's not a certainty.
"We've got $150,000 in the budget for paving this year," Evans said. "This is $110,000. That leaves us $40,000 to start off next year before our budget process ends."
Jennings questioned whether or not it would be better for Jasper to borrow $1 million to fix all the town's roads in need of repair if the town already is committed to paying $150,000 for paving each year.
"The only thing that I can't help but think, every year that we don't pave those roads, they get more and more behind the eight ball," Jennings said. "If a road may cost us $100,000 to fix today, three years from now, it may cost $450,000 because of drainage or whatever."
Evans said fixing all the roads at once hasn't been considered because city leaders have been trying to "pay as we go."
Within the next four years, some large loans Jasper has for various projects should be paid off, and he said that could free up almost $100,000 per year.
"That would be, to me, the time to look at [paving all the roads at once]," Evans said. "That's what I'm trying to do — pay as we go. When we get rid of debt service, we can do a lot more."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at email@example.com.