When Baldwin County Highway Director Joey Nunnally presents a $6.3 million repaving plan in a budget meeting on Aug. 8, he hopes all the projects can be covered in the 2020 fiscal year budget.
But there are at least three of those he’s sure will be included. The county is expected to receive the first dividends from the County Rebuild Alabama Fund, or the state’s new gas tax, during the upcoming budget year. He’s already picked out County Road 9, County Road 55 and Grantham Road as repaving projects to be paid for with the new revenue.
“The documentation required on the front end and on the back end requires us to identify those roads,” Nunnally said. “The reason we picked those three out is those three were really good totals to document the $1.2 million that we are going to get from Rebuild Alabama.”
The money from the new tax faces different scrutiny that other revenue the county gets for fixing and maintaining roadways.
“That money is earmarked but not only is it earmarked to go to roads and bridges it’s also got to be documented on what roads we propose to spend it on and document on the back end to say that’s what we spent it on,” Nunnally said. “They say OK, here’s this $1.2 million but you’ve got to do some administrative work to get. Well, we jumped through the hoops and do it to get it.”
Baldwin County will have to come up with the money upfront for those projects but will be paid back through monthly revenues gathered with the gas tax. Eventually, it will go up 10 cents but will take three years to reach that level. During the first year, it will go up 6 cents starting Aug. 31 and in 2020 and 2021 an additional 2 cents will be added on Oct. 1 in each of those years.
Nunnally said the county projects it will receive $1.7 million the second year and $2.1 million in the third year of the new gas tax collections. The new law enacting the tax spells out what it can be spent on and also what can’t be funded with the money.
“Basically, what that means it can be used for construction, inspection, engineering, surveying and mapping, resurfacing, utility relocation, traffic control and those type things,” Nunnally said. “All the money that we get, 50 percent of those funds have got to be let out to contract which means we can’t do the work in house.”
Money from the new gas tax can’t be used for salaries and benefits, or to purchase or lease or maintenance of equipment. It also can’t be used to fund construction and maintenance of any structures other than other than roads and bridges.”
Nunnally said he will recommend spending about $6.3 million in the coming fiscal year for repaving roads in three sections of the county.
“We are going to break those down into three different groups, the first one being 22.3 miles, the second one will be 18.1 and the group three 34.7,” he said.
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