By Matt Montgomery
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.