Elberta leaders ask county for help with CR 83 problems

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Elberta town leaders visited a recent Baldwin County Commission work session to once again ask for the county’s financial assistance in helping to pave and fix County Road 83.

Elberta Mayor Jim Hamby told commissioners they were seeking any and all help the county could give them on helping to repave CR 83.

Hamby said the road had been problematic and needed repairs even when the town of Elberta took it over from the county in 2000, when current Baldwin County Commissioner Skip Gruber was then mayor of Elberta.

“We’re battling to clean up something here that we inherited,” Hamby said. “We ask for any help you can give us on that.”

Hamby said the town has already been proactive on trying to find ways to help funded the needed road projects, including receiving a grant/loan package from the federal government and a six-fugue grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation.

“We’ve been doing our part to try to find ways to do this, but we would certainly appreciate any support and help the county could do, too.”

Hamby pointed out that several county residents lived in the areas around CR 83 and would benefit from the construction.

“By our calculations, there are more people in this area that live inside the county’s jurisdiction than the town’s, so really this would be a project to benefit more county residents than it would actual citizens of Elberta,” Hamby said.

Hamby said the town council had recently passed an agreement that would allow the county to help with the project if it chose to do so, and said the town council had also requested a state attorney general’s opinion about what sort of help the county could possibly provide within state law.

Gruber, who said he was well aware of the road, said he wasn’t ready to make a commitment about what help the county could make at this time.

“We have told the town of Elberta before we have budget coming up in July, and that’s when we would have to make that consideration,” Gruber said. “The money would have to come from the county’s highway department. We’d be competing for projects that are in the county, also - we’ve got projects, too.”

Commissioner Chris Elliott said he would like to wait until the county’s budget discussions, which begin this summer, before making a potential commitment.

“You’re asking us to tacitly approve something outside of our budget cycle,” Elliott said. “That’s not something I can do is make a guarantee to you now on this. I can’t commit funds from a budget we haven’t had the negotiations.”