Council Defends Delay

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Ward 3 councilwoman Barbara Henson and Bobby Smith of Ward 5 said Thursday they are concerned the public may believe the Meridian City Council is dragging its feet in getting road improvements underway.

"Each council member submitted a list of streets in their respective wards that needed paving, and I'm a stickler for dates, and the first list that we submitted was Dec. 18, 2002," said Henson.

Henson said the delay was in receiving the cost estimate from the city engineer on each street listed. She said they were also concerned about a perception that North Hills Street was a priority.

"There's no question about it, all of us agree that North Hills Street is a critical area but we consider the streets in our wards to be critical also," Henson said.

Smith agreed with Henson that the cost estimates were critical.

"I guess the main thing that really bothered me, of course I made the motion to table that the other night, was just like Barbara said, I would like to see us complete everything at one time far as the list goes and we cannot do that until we get all our figures together and all the streets properly done in each ward," said Smith.

Smith said it wasn't the council that stopped the paving list from being approved, but the lack of cost estimates.

"We're just trying to get it all corrected. When we do get it correct, we're going to go ahead with it and get it all approved and I hope it will be pretty soon," Smith said. "We need to do this as a package like we agreed on. The $5 million is supposed to go $1 million each to each council member."

They said the remaining $1 million will be allocated to the administration for work of their choice such as traffic lights and widening of North Hills Street.