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Residents give mixed emotions toward April 2 election

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Several Piedmont residents who have been through major elections in Piedmont before have expressed mixed emotions about the April 2 General Bond Obligation election. In fact, most of those who spoke about it said they are already leaning toward a “no” vote.

Piedmont resident Al Ridgely, who has lived over near Apache and Fina for 30 years said the road repairs project outlined by the $6 million bond doesn’t affect him and his area one bit, so why should he vote for it?

Ridgely believes the city is allocating too much of its money on what he calls frivolous fees and not using it to its full potential.

“We could take these frivolous fees…the fire department doesn’t need a fire protection fee, but they say they do,” he said. “We take these fees, and I talked to 10 people at the bank this morning and I even asked them, ‘Would you find any real heavy resistance about putting in a five hour a month road fee if it went just to roads?’” He said there are other ways of raising money for the city. He included his home base road of Apache as a reference and said it was a shale road when he moved to Piedmont. He said the citizens paid to have the road surfaced properly. That was in 1987.

Ridgley isn’t going to vote for the road repair project.

Former Piedmont City Councilman and longtime Piedmont citizen Jay Stout said he will cast a “yes” vote in the upcoming election.

He said he is voting yes simply because this is a citywide effort and the citizens of Piedmont need to support their neighbors’ roads as well as their roads.

“We need to support it and this isn’t the first time this town has had a bond election,” Stout said. Stout served on the Piedmont City Council about 15 years ago and has his reservations on whether the vote will pass.

“I think it will be close because this is one of those votes that has to be 70 percent,” Stout said. “People don’t like to see their taxes go up and it’s my understanding that if this bond passes, there’s going to be an increase in taxes.”

The voters will ultimately decide if the vote passes or not. If it does, Piedmont will begin to see some road repairs that citizens claim are in dire need of fixing.

If it doesn’t pass, then the roads may continue to deteriorate and become more of a problem to daily drivers, school buses and people who pass through Piedmont and experience the jarring effect when they run over pot-holes and divots in the roads.

12 Comments

  1. Vernon Woods says:

    Although I have learned to ignore your ability to mangle the English language and to totally misquote most of the people you interview, I cannot allow you to get away with a couple of patently erroneous statements.

    1 – There has never been a bond election held by the City of Piedmont. There have been previous sales tax elections and school bond elections, but this is the first city bond offering.

    2 – The successful passage of this bond will require a simple majority of the voters to approve it. In other words, anything over 50%, not the strange 70% you quoted.

    In addition, if the bond fails, the roads WILL continue to deteriorate – not MAY – and your ‘divots’ will get bigger.

  2. JT says:

    Vernon,

    What kind of maintenance program does the city plan on implementing if the bond passes and the roads are resurfaced/rebuilt/reconstructed?

  3. john says:

    Vernon, the paper was only quoting the misstatements from former city councilmen Jay Stout. Matt is only reporting what was quoted to him. Maybe he should have fact checked it though.

  4. JT says:

    There goes Vernon’s comments….

    There seems to be a pattern developing if you criticize the mistakes in an article.

  5. Al Ridgely says:

    As with all history that repeat” its self,our road maintaice is not going to be done,I see some effert being done,but very little to solve the main problem,DRAINAGE,first we could decrease the amount of pot-holes by cutting the ditch’s so that the road is higher than the ditchs,also if we don’t do proper drainage the money we spend doing the roads will be a waste of money,proof is Piedmont Rd.on the east side just before Apache,done about 3 years ago and already there are road failures and the beginnings of pot-holes,this has been true of every road done in this city,why is anyones guess,if you do the drainage right from the beginning the road will last a lot longer,we have been paying a Drainage fee for 16 years and little to no drainage work appears to have been done before the fact,Maintance will be a problem since we don’t have a street dept,we bearly have enough people to do the work in Public Works,these guy’s are over-worked and few in numbers,THANKS Guy’s for your efforts.We need to have people doing road repair and drainage work now not after the fact.With employment at a all time low you would think that we would be able to hire people,I was told tonight that we are finnally going to advertise for help,but where?,there surely is people who want to work out there,we just need to look for the right place to advertise for them. We needed to get started some time ago.Now we hear talk about this,but see little to no action. I hope that people will start insisting that something be done now,not later.
    As for the fee that I mentioned to Matt,to correct I said five dollars not hours,the other fee’s such as fire protection,wasn’t the tax money enough to build our fire dept.?,I was informed that they were going to get one half cents of the tax paid,well they got one cent and then a fee was put on the trash bill,where did that come from? as I don’t remember the voter’s having a say in that issue.Just so I am clear,I was and am in support the fire dept,but only to a point and I believe they went past that real fast.
    I truely hope that people take the time to pull up google maps and look at the roads proposed and see what benefit they will have on the majority of the citzens that will be paying for them,I also believe that this bond will keep us from doing anymore roads for the term of the bond because the people will be ask to pay even more again,where would the money come from to do more roads in the future?Remember the economy isn’t going to instantly improve,so money spent now will make issue’s in the future almost impossible.Do I have a answer No,but my feelings on the road choice’s on this bond are not worth the money.If this is an effort to build for the future we should be taking care of the people here now that are the one’s paying,not people who don’t even live yet.This is just my opinion and I hope that people look at this issue with common sense and do the right thing. Al Ridgely

  6. Charles Coffman says:

    164th from the east feeds the hundreds of homes up Sara and Mustang roads and those in between. It s also a bus route. Sara north of Edmnd road feeds the hundreds of homes in the Circle V additions. 164th wast of Piedmont road, Stout dr and Edmond road west of Piedmont rad serves several hundred homes and the schools. There are roads in th north as well. These roads will be 5 1/2 inch asfault on top of a good base done by professional contracts. We are trying to fix the arterial roads. We have a grader now to do the ongoing ditch work and grading on the out roads. This bond will free up funds so the city can keep up with the inner streets. Even if your road is not done it will still help because roads are our #1 problem and it hurts property values. We are trying to get industry here but we are so busy bickering with each other the efforts are mute. The bond is 100% roads for you, don’t let those that have big trucks and like playing frogger with the pot holes lead you astray. It is the bond or many years of bad roads that might require us to lower the speed limits.

  7. Al Ridgely says:

    Again I ask the same question,why is there only talk of doing work when no one is really seeing any done?,the grader was to do drainage work,but none to this point is visable,also we need to ask why have there been no movement on devolping a street dept,we have the money to hire people but it isn’t being done,last week we fired 2 more people in Public works,How many people have we could left?,At the last Council meeting Don Roberson ask Bud how many people he needed so that we could hire more,his answer was none as he didn’t have work for anyone new,how can that be?,we need to train a full-time grader operator to do roads and drainage ditchs,that alone takes 2 full time men,then there’s the pot=hole crew,at least 2 more there,on top of doing other public works jobs,it would look to me that we need at least10 people working,where are they?,we don’t pay enough to get good people so our turn-over is on-going,as for the bond,I see it as a big mistake,not because of the need for improvement,but because we will do roads and they won’t be done right in the first place and we won’t do the maintance that is needed to keep them from going to seed in a short time,example is Piedmont rd just before Apache Rd.after only 3 years there is road failure and pot-holes appearing,so was the work done right,answer NO,has there been any work done to stop the problem,again NO,this is true of every road we’ve done here,so why make the same mistake over and over,it’s just throwing good money after bad at the same problem.Everyone talks about the problem but no one takes action about it,Why?talk is cheap, but action tells the whole story,we need a plan to maintain our roads first and then do the roads right,other-wise we will have the same problem again and again,as for lowering the speed limits,that is not a fix but a bandaid,and as for bringing new people into town,we can’t support what we have,why ask the people to take care of people who aren’t even here,my money has been taken for 16 years for drainage,but no one can or will tell me what it has been used for,Why?,well it seems that until lately it was going into the General fund and used in other ways,not for drainage,poor accounting pratices and the fact that this is not important,well it is important,this problem could be the way to get some problems fixed and stop or slow down future problems,but as always it’s not,I would gladly vote for money to fix roads if they were going to be done right,but as always they won’t be,look at the past and tell me I’m wrong. I guess the biggest problem is that people don’t care,the people in my area did our road in 1987,at our own expense,with the agreement that the city would maintain it,that has not been done as we have a ton of pot=holes and poor drainage to this day,why spend more. There is also the question of after the bond is passed,fi it does,how will the city do more roads over the next 10 years,there will be no money for other roads unless they come to the people and try to get more in other ways.There is no doubt that we have needed roads for years and the problem just gets worst,with nothing actully being done,just talk.WE NEED TO SEE SOME ACTION.Also as a side note 164th was and is going to done,why was it bullbozed into the bond issue in the first place,it will just take away another road to be done,it seemed that this was important to one councilman,WHY?,Why was Piedmont Rd between Edmond and 192nd left off?,it’s one of the most traveled roads in the town,many accidents and a death have ocurred there,it floods everytime it rains,and nothing is being done to solve the problem,as always. WE have little time to think this over and I hope that people go to Google maps and look at the roads that they want to do and ask why,who benefit’s from this the most,and most of all what kind of a plan and actions will be done to keep going forward,at this time it will be the same old story,look at the past and prove me wrong,I have replaced 5 frontends in 5 years due to the roads here and don’t see anything changing in the future.PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIMEN KNOW YOU CARe and PLEASE LOOK AT THE FACTS..Al Ridgely

  8. Charles Coffman says:

    The roads will be done right with professional contracts, same as state and county make their awards. Drainage will be done! These roads will last many many years and we will certainly be moving toward having a full street crew. Te grader will be doing it’s important job and there are years of work needed. We can not patch the chip and peel, they crumble when it rains… With thick asfault you can patch it right when it does happen. The drainage fee is now a line item details how it is expended, there is a new city manager that takes it seriously. I am glad these questions are being asked so everyone can think these things over. Just remember that doing nothing is doing something.

  9. Al Ridgely says:

    As I stated above,the last road done here was done by the state,professionally,no base work,no drainage and the road is already showing pot-holes,3 years old,what has changed?As for a street crew,when will that become something we will se,not hear about,we lost 2 more workers recently,how will this improve?,and what roads will be done after the roads in the bond issue are done and when?,this all sounds good for some people but again not too many benefit from it. I stand with my point of view,history repeats itself over and over.The grader hasn’t been seen by anyone I know in use,and no drainage has been done where the roads flood,it’s a big job and we don’t have the people so far to even start it,action is louder than words.Thanks Charles for the drainage imformation,it only took 14 years for someone to open up about what was collected last year,not one word about the years before,and what work has been done with it,is this something we can find out without a court order,just saying in the past a lot of money was collected and never used for what it was supposed to used for,16 years of collected funds,GONE but not forgottened. That said I am glad that you as one of our rep’s is doing the best you can,Please continue and we will be there when we can on most thing’s. Al

  10. JT says:

    Wait a minute. The drainage fee just went into the general fund for 16 years, but now it is a separate line item on the budget? Am I understanding this correctly?

  11. Charles Coffman says:

    Just better reporting. Transparency is often quoted as a goal theses days but it really is what we want. That is why I gave Al the budget line item sheet with the drainage fee on it. It has been on there as long as I can remember, but some have said it has not always been seperated. In my reading it looks like the fee was intended for drainage and road related activities, and few can say we have not had that need and expense over te years.

  12. Al Ridgely says:

    JT,yes as far as anyone that has looked at the budget over the years can tell the drainage fee was put into the general fund,that was until Jim became city manager,in my first meeting with him he told me that there was no drainage fee fund,but he would and did list it,good job Jim,over the years I have tried to get answers about this at city council meetings and with every mayor and city manager,all I ever got was B.S. and the usual answer that they would get back to me,well thanks to Charles I did finnally get an answer and now it’s a line item,but as to what it’s been used for,who knows because it was suppose to be used for drainage ONLY,People are right in they have never dis-closed what it was used for.So the question is how much has been collected over the years(16 years) and what was it used for,we’ll never know.Transparency is a good thing and should be dis-closed whenever a citzen asks a question every means should be mage by city staff to show people what they ask for.Again thanks to Charles and Jim. Al Ridgely

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