County delays highway vote
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
The Escambia County Commission Wednesday tabled a request for help funding the four-laning of Alabama 113 from Hwy. 31 to Interstate 65 north of Flomaton.
On Monday, city officials from Flomaton unanimously voted in favor of providing $1 million to the estimated $25 million four-lane project. Flomaton Mayor Dewey Bondurant Jr. has 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.
Wednesday, Flomaton officials asked the county for help with $1 million it committed to the project Monday, contingent upon county support. The town asked for a portion of the three-cent county sales tax collected within a one-mile radius of Hwy. 113 and I-65.
Specifically, if the proposal were accepted, the commission would 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 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 of $50,000 per year. However, if Florida's commitment falls through, the deal is dead because the $20 million match will not be met.
The commission recessed its Monday meeting until Wednesday morning to give commissioners an opportunity to review the proposal. Wednesday, they voted 3-2 to table the issue.
Williamson said that things have moved too quickly and he hasn't had enough time to think, which pushed him to make the first motion to table the item.
According to Mayor Bondurant, the commitment needs to be on the governor's desk by January or it would be turned down.
The meeting also included East Brewton Mayor Terry Clark and Atmore Mayor Howard Shell. Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings was unable to attend.
Clark said that while he wasn't against the four-lane project, his key concern was for the citizens of East Brewton getting through his town with the excess traffic.
“We're just between a rock and a hard place,” Mayor Bondurant said. “I would do nothing to Brewton - Brewton's been good to my family. I just don't know anywhere else to go