Shady Shores council members are asking residents to help prioritize town needs, which include road and drainage repair and the eventual establishment of a town police department.
During a regular Town Council meeting last Monday, council members approved a motion to appoint residents to police and road advisory committees. The two committees were created to help pinpoint issues facing the town while receiving input from residents.
The council said addressing damaged roads and drainage will probably be among the town’s largest expenses and the road committee’s most daunting task. Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Spencer said the town could spend nearly $2 million on road and drainage repairs.
Council members requested about $600,000 in the town’s upcoming budget to begin aggressive repairs, Mayor Jerry Williams said. In a July council meeting, Williams said the road crews were doing only minimal patchwork.
Williams said that all the roads can’t be fixed in one budget year without a substantial tax increase. For now, he said, the town’s engineer has compiled a “wish list” for roads and drainage issues.
The police service committee will be used to help lead the possible development of a town police service. The committee will examine the options and cost for the town to provide its own police service.
The town contracts with Corinth for law enforcement services, and on Aug. 6, it renewed its contract for police services for the next five years for about $130,000.
Shady Shores has already looked extensively at starting its own police department, addressing the issue a few years ago. However, officials decided it wasn’t feasible to hire the necessary personnel to run a department in such a small town.
The council created the committees after deciding to table a vote to establish a five-year master plan for the town. A strategy committee built the plan, which called for modifications to the town’s infrastructure for the next five years.
Spencer said the newly created committees differ from strategy committees in that they’ll focus on one area instead of multiple issues.
“The council, with the research provided by these two committees, will make decisions for the best solutions to these issues,” she said.
Council member John Reedy said he thinks the addition of another committee will delay the road repairs. He said the master plan was reliable because it was based on the expertise of an engineer. He added he thinks the resident committee will create bias.
Williams said the plan presented excellent visions for the town but also said the majority of the council agreed major strategy changes are not needed.
“The consensus of the council was that the town is progressing in the right direction,” Williams said. “They just did not feel like an action motion was needed at this time to go forward with the issues in the town.”
Williams said the council will look to the new advisory committees for further input.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .