By Jesse O’Brien
The Williamston Post staff writer
The Williamston City Council voted unanimously to reallocate $50,000 from the city’s general fund balance to finance a roadwork project.
City manager Tim Allard said Williamston had about $210,000 extra in the budget, left over from the previous fiscal year that ended in June. The proposed plan would pay for the pulverization and resurfacing of Wallace Street and Southfield Drive. Estimated cost of the project is expected to be $103,968, and the repairs are expected to remain intact for 20 to 25 years.
(View Williamston Planned Construction to see the affected areas.)
The council was originally expected to vote on a repair plan that would last for six to eight years and cost about $53,000. However, after discussing the possibilities with the city engineer, Allard proposed more extensive repairs be considered.
“The thought is that this just isn’t a candidate for a chip and seal project,” Allard said at the meeting. “The road is too far gone for that.”
Councilmember Larry Wittrup expressed concern about the project, noting that a more extensive repair job would also result in lengthier road closings. He also recalled a time when the city paid a contractor to repair the road and the result was inadequate.
“When we have somebody come in to town and put together a development like that, we need to make sure they put some money in escrow to finish the top coat on those roads because that’s what we weren’t doing back then,” Wittrup said.
The council acknowledged Wittrup’s misgivings and agreed they would be addressed with the upcoming project.
After the meeting, Allard said the project is expected to start in the last two weeks of October and take about one week to finish.
Also on the council’s agenda was a request to waive an application fee for Tina Brookhouse Fitness Studio, 311 W. Grand River Ave. The council voted unanimously against the proposal.
“It sets a bad precedent,” councilmember Michael Moody said. “We’ll have everyone come and ask us to split the fees with them and this is not our money. It’s [the community’s] money.”
Finally, the council addressed the departures of councilmember Andy Simmons and City Manager Allard. Simmons submitted his letter of resignation to the city on Sept. 21, stating he wished to focus his time on training for the 2012 Olympic wrestling team. The council unanimously voted to accept Simmons’ resignation and terminate his obligations to the city effective immediately, leaving his seat vacant until a replacement is found.
On the way out
Allard had previously announced plans to retire in August, pinpointing Nov. 15 as his final day as city manager. However, the council voted to extend that date until January 15, 2012 so councilmembers elected in November will have the opportunity to select Allard’s replacement themselves. The new timeline calls for submission of applications for the position to be completed by Oct. 10. The council will discuss the vacancy again at the Oct. 24 meeting.
“What we can do is make a recommendation of the appropriate regimen to the council for their review,” Councilmember Scott VanAllsburg said. “Not to make a decision, but just to get it out in the open.