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July 07, 2011 Issue

Star spangled...
Paving a road is a process
SCLC alleges police brutality

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Star spangled...


The crowd gathered for the Louisville Lions Club’s 21st annual July 4 celebration “ooh” and “ahh” at the firework display. For more photos from this event, see page 10A inside this edition.

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Paving a road is a process

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

There are a total of 825.7 miles of road in Jefferson County, the county’s administrator, Paul Bryan, said.

The types of roads are divided into 74.8 miles of city streets, 263.1 miles of unpaved roads and 487.8 miles of paved roads, he said. The figure does not include the 187 roads inside the county that are state roads, Bryan said.

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Bryan said there are only 46 other counties out of Georgia’s 159 with more mileage than Jefferson County.

With so many miles of roadway to maintain, local officials have a lot to consider when deciding to pave more of its dirt roads.

Bryan said there are at least three reasons the county decides to pave a road.

“By overwhelming citizen request; commissioners’ identification of excessive maintenance costs or for new business access,” he said.

The administrator said paving a road is an expensive undertaking for the county.

“If you start from scratch, it would run anywhere from $250,000 to $350,000 per mile considering what type of base and sub-base for that road is needed. Other issues such as environmental issues might arise during the project,” he said.

“These environmental concerns could be wetlands, erosion control storm water run-off, intrusion onto historic sites or endangering certain species of flora or fauna,” he said.

Bryan said an environmental study has to be completed.

“Completed, stamped and signed off by a professional engineer before any project can be started and before you apply for any funding from the Department of Transportation,” Bryan said.

“It costs $125,000 per mile just to resurface an existing paved road,” he said.

Bryan said it is difficult in this economy to get state funding to pave roads.

The state has started a new Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant program to which the county has submitted their initial requests for assistance, he said.

“We do not know what will be approved at this time,” Bryan said. “With this program, the county would be better off contracting the work out than doing it ourselves.

“What people have to realize is the ad valorem tax that we collected last year is roughly $4.9 million for the entire county operation with only $315,000 of that amount going to fund the entire road department, not just road construction,” he said.

The road department budget is $1 million, Bryan said.

“The balance of these operational funds comes from Insurance Premium Tax, funds from the state and various state and county fees and charges. When you start talking about paving roads at $250,000 to $300,000 a mile, you soon realize you can’t make all needed repairs at once and you have to start prioritizing,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of paved roads that are getting in troubled condition; and, they need resurfacing real bad and we don’t have the money to do that either,” Bryan said.

“Everything we do costs money,” he said.

Bryan said paving a road requires a traffic study to determine structure requirements, road bed design and drainage requirements.

Bryan said he typically receives requests to pave about three roads each year. Roads used to be rated, based on DOT criteria, he said, but not currently. The whole process takes a minimum of two years, he said. Bryan said it’s still unknown at this time how things will be once the public votes on the transportation SPLOST. Bryan said the county has not paved any roads since 2009.

“We’ve just done small patch jobs and spot repairs,” he said.

In the past 12 months, Bryan said the county has spent about $18,572 on asphalt, $41,200 on gravel and about $25,000 on pipes, which includes culverts and cross drains.

“I think most people don’t realize the extended legal and governmental processes involved in paving a road,” Bryan said. “Remember that roads cannot be paved that the county does not own.”




SCLC alleges police brutality

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

James Ivery, the president of the Jefferson County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said in an email Tuesday, July 5, that on behalf of his organization, he has been investigating an accusation of police brutality against a Louisville citizen.

Ivery stated he would hold a press conference about the matter Wednesday, July 6.

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Ivery said he received a call last month from a Louisville citizen who said two officers with the Louisville Police Department grabbed a man on the corner of Broad Street, hand cuffed him and committed police brutality and used excessive force upon the man who was not resisting.

Tuesday afternoon Louisvlle Police Chief Jimmy Miller released a copy of the incident report regarding the arrest in question. Miller said the suspect had not filed a formal complaint with the city’s police department. Other than that, the chief had no comment.

Ivery said he came to Louisville Wednesday, June 29, to look into the complaint.

“I interviewed a dozen or more people; men, women and children; and all of their accounts of the incident corroborated with each other as to what they had eye witnessed,” he stated in his press release.

Ivery said he went to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to find out about the man and request an interview. He said he was told the man had been released and had been charged with obstruction and possession of marijuana.

He said he then went to the Louisville Police Department to speak with the chief; but, Miller was out.

Ivery said he visited the man at his home and interviewed him and his family.

Ivery said the man had a swollen face and a large bruise on his right shoulder. He said he noticed a knot or swelling above one eye and a large swollen bloodshot right eye.

Ivery stated that after hearing the man’s account of what happened, along with the statements of witnesses, he decided the Jefferson County Chapter of the SCLC would address the issue.

A copy of the police report obtained by The News and Farmer / The Jefferson Reporter states the man was charged with possession of marijuana, less than an ounce, second offense; and obstruction of law enforcement officer, with violence, which is a felony.

The report states that a juvenile had identified the man as someone who had sold three juveniles fire crackers.

The man told officers he didn’t have any firecrackers and attempted to walk away from the officers, the report states.

“While doing so, he removed something from his pants pocket and tossed it towards the patrol car. Officers grabbed (him) by the wrist in an attempt to detain him and he swung in an attempt to strike the officers,” the report states, adding the man was arrested after a brief struggle.

Miller refused comment other than to say the man himself had not filed any complaint as of Tuesday.

John Murphy, the city’s attorney, had no comment.




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