Supervisor Miller updates Sturgis BOA

Oktibbeha County District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller (left) speaks to the Sturgis Board of Aldermen during its monthly meeting at Sturgis Town Hall on Tuesday (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)
By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN EDITOR

The Sturgis Board of Aldermen got a first hand account of major infrastructure projects in and around the town by Oktibbeha County District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller on Tuesday at Sturgis Town Hall.

Federal funding for infrastructure projects - or the lack thereof - was a reoccurring part of the discussion, with Miller pointing to the Longview Road project as an indicator.

FEDERAL FUNDING ISSUES

“When the federal government did this, our (Surface Transportation Program) dollars have not come down and what that is is you have your local money for your roads, you have your state aid, local taxes dollars, then you have your federal money, so Longview Road is one of the projects that is the first project sitting on the list in Jackson to be done,” Miller said.

The road is split between Miller and District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery, and the overall project is expected to carry a $5 million price tag.

However, Miller said the lion’s share of those funds will come from state aid dollars allocated by the county.

Federal STP funds have not been released in two years and Miller said she was not optimistic that the funding would come through during this term.

Miller said the funds were reallocated for different federal bridge inspections of bridges across the state.

The Craig Springs Bridge was one listed in need of repairs and was recently replaced. Miller said when federal inspectors came down, they immediately closed the bridge - like many others across the state.

Miller said while county engineers were paid $300 per bridge to inspect them, the federal government hired a third party to come in to inspect the bridges at a cost of $10,000 per bridge.

“Many of these bridges were already on the list to repair and our local engineer had already inspected these bridges, but (the Craig Springs Bridge) has been replaced,” Miller said.

Supervisors recently hired the Clearwater Group - a local lobbying firm - to help lobby for more federal funding for the Longview Road project.

“They’ve already started and also on the state level,” Miller said. “Hopefully, we can get those funds.”

Miller said she also plans to personally travel to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional policymakers to help secure federal funding for the Longview Road project.

Other areas Miller said the county hoped to address would be Pleasant Ridge Road and Silver Creek Road, among others.

“The other areas I have out getting the plans and go out to bid in Sturgis is Shaw Road, redone, North Park, North McKinney, Edwards Street, South McKee, Williams, North Montgomery.”

INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES

Two other areas mentioned were Morgantown Road and Dry Creek Road, which are facing similar problems with weather-related deterioration.

“When they built Dry Creek Road, the county built it without soil cement underneath,” Miller said. “When we had the freeze, the road had some cracks in it because it’s chip sealed and every five years you’re supposed to come back and overlay chip seal. With the money restraints, that doesn’t happen.”

Miller said water from winter weather and heavy rains went underneath the road and when it froze, it expanded the roads, and when the garbage truck ran across it, it went from a paved road to a gravel road.

“We had gone in and re-tarred (Dry Creek Road) and put gravel on top of it and it takes rain and a sweeper to come back and smooth that off,” Miller said.

However, the move will only be a temporary fix unless the county feels like it’s sufficient.

County engineer Clyde Pritchard will come out and look at it, and if it’s not sufficient, the county will put it on a bid plan with the other roads.

Morgantown Road was soil cemented, according to Miller, but from the last bridge to the Winston County line that sees heavy traffic with big trucks, the soil base is different, so the same problem seen on Dry Creek Road occurred.

“The road actually just broke to pieces,” Miller said. “That one is on the list as well.”

FIBER INTERNET

While problems persist regarding infrastructure and federal funding, Miller did bring a spot of good news to the Sturgis Board of Aldermen.

Miller said the state just signed a contract with C Spire, who will be running fiber internet cables - fast speed internet - to all of the school and government entities in the state.

“I think the date is going to be by June of next year,” Miller said.

Miller lauded the possibilities that could come for Sturgis with fiber internet, including the ability to raise the health care profile of the town with telehealth services.

“Telehealth is becoming more and more the normal, where you sit, arm is in the machine and you can actually talk to a doctor on a screen,” Miller said.

FIRE RATINGS

Miller also briefly discussed fire and insurance ratings for the Craig Springs area.

“They just got all the signatures for Sturgis area, so we will have a public hearing and if they get accepted, they will automatically go from a 10 to a 9 and lower fire ratings in that area.”

The next Sturgis Board of Aldermen meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6 at 6 p.m.

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