Road resurfacing budget facing some contention as Huntsville inches closer to 2022 budget

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A public meeting Monday night gave Huntsvillians a chance to speak their minds about the City’s 2022 budget.

City Councilman Bill Kling hoted the community meeting at the Downtown Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Branch. Some in attendance wanted to discuss big-picture city funding items like mental health and investing in the youth to keep them out of trouble. Road resurfacing was also mentioned.

Last Thursday, City officials met to discuss the upcoming budget – 2021’s included $236 million in general fund spending and $140 million in capital spending.

Officials expect the 2022 budget to grow on all fronts.

A major priority for all council members during Thursday’s meeting – road resurfacing across the City.

Kling wants to double the amount for resurfacing – increasing it to just shy of $20 million.

“I usually hear from people about road resurfacing, probably once or twice every week,” said Kling.

Public Works Director Chris McNeese was thankful for the effort to set aside more money for the department, but said resurfacing contractors are facing worker shortages like many other industries.

His suggestion to the City: An incremental increase of 25-30 percent rather than the 100 percent from doubling the budget.

“I would like to do more than that because basically the cost of resurfacing a street this year will cost more than it did last year. In addition to that, we contract different companies out through a bid process. There are three different companies here in Huntsville. I could see us with three different contracts at the same unit price,” argued Kling.

Mayor Tommy Battle is expected to present the budget at the Sept. 9 City Council meeting. Council members will vote on the 2022 budget two weeks later.

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