County OKs funds for Hwy. 113

Published 7:31 pm Monday, December 26, 2005

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster
Escambia County Commissioners voted unanimously to support the town of Flomaton's request for help funding the four-laning of Alabama 113 from Hwy. 31 to Interstate 65 north of Flomaton. The special called meeting was held Wednesday morning and commissioners agreed to allocate up to $500,000 to help fund the project.
The item was tabled last week after Commissioners Todd Williamson, Wiley Tait and William Brown each said they felt they needed more time to review the information that was presented to commissioners in a workshop.
Williamson said Wednesday in a phone interview that he thought the project was a good one, but he still doesn't think it's going to be a "saving grace for Flomaton or Escambia County."
"I have never said from the beginning that I was against the project. I was against the way the project was handled," he said. "I respect them for wanting to do the project…but I would have appreciated that we knew about it earlier on.It was a top secret project two weeks ago – we weren't even a part of it. That was the only thing that really offended me. It was like 'You don't want me to be a part of it until your back is against the wall.' "
During a town meeting, city officials from Flomaton had unanimously voted in favor of providing $1 million in matching funds for the estimated $25 million four-lane project. Flomaton Mayor Dewey Bondurant Jr. said that he had secured a promise from the state committing $20 million, and received a verbal commitment from the Rebuilding Northwest Florida Committee to fund $4 million to the project.
Based on the resolution unanimously voted on Wednesday morning, the commission will provide cash support to the town of Flomaton. The commission will annually total the receipts of the sales tax collected in that area.
That total would be reduced by 30 percent, the amount of the tax dedicated to the volunteer fire departments. Of the remaining 70 percent of the tax, one third would be remitted to the town of Flomaton over a 10-year period, not to exceed a maximum amount of $50,000 per year.
The commission will not be responsible for cost overruns for the project. Also, if the state of Alabama, town of Flomaton and the Committee to Rebuild Northwest Florida fails to meet their obligations, the commission will also be released from the agreement.
Williamson said Wednesday that he still hadn't seen the money Florida had promised.
"I asked for more time because there were things I wanted to think about – I still haven't seen Florida's $4 million," he said.
According to County Administrator Tony Sanks and as written in the resolution, the Committee to Rebuild Northwest Florida has not pledged funds but has identified sources willing to provide $4 million.
Williamson said that there had been some question as to whether the commission could use the tax money to help fund the project. As of Wednesday, they were still getting the opinion from the attorney general.
"A little more time didn't hurt a thing," Williamson said.
Mayor Bondurant traveled to Montgomery on Wednesday to present funding commitments to the Alabama Department of Transportation. After returning from his trip, Mayor Bondurant said Thursday afternoon that "We still have some things to work out," and could not comment any further.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox