August 4, 2011 12:44:00 PM
After receiving numerous complaints, Columbus city councilmen voted Tuesday to take a closer look at how the Public Works Department decides which driveways get new street connections.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said Wednesday that he would appoint a committee in upcoming weeks to review the criteria for getting the connections, which span "valleys" between driveways and streets that are created when the street is repaved.
The issue was raised Tuesday by Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens Sr., who said he''s received reports that Public Works is "picking and choosing" who gets the connections.
"We''re going in a direction that is not feasible," he said Wednesday. "We''re going in a direction that discredits the mayor and council."
Public Works Director Mike Pratt didn''t immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.
Although the problem is "citywide," Mickens said East Columbus seems to have "the most problems."
Mickens said he would like to see each ward allocated a certain amount of funds in the budget for the connections.
"We have to be fair, not just to some," he said.
Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem said he gets calls "all the time" from citizens wondering how to get their driveway valleys bridged.
"Right now," he said, "they just haphazardly put those valleys in for, well, special people."
Karriem said he wanted to find out who at Public Works was ordering that the connections be put in.
"(Councilmen) were told," he continued, "the city''s not doing (connections). That''s not the case because they''re popping up across the city."
In other business, Smith said the council voted 3-2, with Karriem and Mickens voting "no," to give $4,800 to finish renovating the train caboose in Propst Park.
The council also voted to hire two additional public works employees to cut grass, he said.
1. Church to get $8M from Tronox settlement COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Goodbye to an unorthodox restaurateur: Norfleet Reichle dies at home Wednesday at age 68 COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. LCSO: Human skull discovered in Lowndes County backyard COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. One dead after Monday crash STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY