Trussville mayor may sue JeffCo over road maintenance - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Trussville mayor may sue JeffCo over road maintenance

Source: WBRC video Source: WBRC video

The Mayor of Trussville is threatening to sue Jefferson County for what he says is their failure to maintain county roads.

Trussville Mayor Gene Melton says he is just one of many mayors in Jefferson County who is fed up.

Mayor Melton says he's not looking to be reimbursed for the millions of dollars he's spent fixing county roads. He says he wants the county to take responsibility for their roads.

"That's a real concern for me. It becomes on of those issues where you're aware you have a problem and you decide to ignore it. I cannot ignore it, but I need to put them on notice," Melton said.

The issues between municipalities and the counties started back in 2009 when the commission passed a resolution asking that took the county out of the business of maintaining county roads within cities. Melton said no one agreed to this, but over time cities had no option but to repair their own roads because it was becoming a public safety issue.

Melton says he let the issue slide while the county was going through bankruptcy, but now that they're out it's time to resolve this issue.

He wants the commission to rescind that resolution and make it clear that the county is responsible for the roads. If the commission does not, he plans to ask the Trussville council's permission to seek legal action. 

"They've got us in a bind, all the cities in a bind. They just send you a resolution saying sorry guys we're giving you these roads, and you take care of it, you can't do that," said Melton. 

Melton says a 1995 state statue makes it illegal for the county not to repair roads. 

County Manager Tony Petelos says the commission passed that resolution because the county was in a financial crisis and could not afford to continue maintain roads. However, it's unknown if the commission did violate any state statues because municipalities in Jefferson County never took the issue court.

County Commission Joe Knight says the county does not have the funding to take over all of the roads or fight a legal battle. He hopes the commission and cities can come to an agreement to avoid this issue from going to court.

"I think this is something we can work out. To take it to court they are going to spend a lot of money, attorney fees, we'll probably get saddled with attorney fees of everybody. Let's get it worked out," said Knight.

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