Keys Landing residents implore city to pave road

Published 4:06 pm Monday, December 18, 2017


Ravonda Moore could become a fixture at Washington City Council meetings.

Moore, a Keys Landing resident, wants the city to pave the subdivision’s Sarah Keyes Way. She appeared before the council during its Nov. 6 and Dec. 11 meetings, saying she and other residents — whom she identified as taxpayers — along the road want it paved.

At the Dec. 11 meeting, Ore said city crews spread sand on the road recently, but a subsequent rainfall washed the sand away. Ore said the sand application was not an acceptable response to her Nov. 6 plea to pave the road.

“That is our road we have to travel on everyday,” Ore said as she distributed photographs of the unpaved road to Mayor Mac Hodges and council members. “I was out of town and didn’t have time to organized, but I will be here at every meeting until something is done about our road,” Ore said.

“OK,” replied Hodges.

Ore said the unpaved road damages vehicles. “It’s ridiculous. My car — maintenance. A couple of my neighbors have to have something done to their cars now. We’re caught in the middle of you and Rev. Moore. We’re taxpayers. I mean we need something, not just throw sand on it,” Ore said. “Our kids have to walk the (school) bus, which is at the end of our road, past these holes. I’m hoping we can come to something in the meanwhile.”

Hodges responded: “OK. We’ll work on it.”

Before the road can be paved, the city has to find the money to pay for it, City Manager Bobby Roberson said Thursday. Roberson said he plans to present a report on the matter to the council in January. Roberson said the city spent at least $13,000 putting in a curb-and-gutter section for the road in November.

“Since then, it’s a high priority for our street department because it’s a subdivision we’ve been dealing with for over 10 years. We have run a cost estimated down to pave the entire street without assessing anything against the property owners. The estimated cost to make the improvements is over $30,000. That’s what it would cost,” Roberson said. “If we do that, it would take all of our money out of the Powell Bill (allocation) in the upcoming budget to do that. That’s step No. 1.”

Powell Bill funds are an annual allocation the city gets from the state’s fuel tax. Powell Bill money is spent on street improvements.

A second option would be for the city to dip into its fund balance (rainy-day fund) to pay for paving the street, said Roberson, who is not recommending that option. Another option would be to “make the improvements to the street” and then charge property owners, which state law allows, Roberson said. “What we would do is set them up with a payment plan which could go up to eight years at 6 percent,” he said.

Council member William Pitt wants the city to act on Ore’s request as soon as possible.
We as a city need to take care of this. This isn’t an African-American thing. It’s the right thing to do. … These people are taxpayers. We need to take care of them.”

Ore’s reference to the Rev. David Moore involves a dispute between Moore and the city. Earlier this year, Moore, chief executive officer of Metropolitan Housing & Development Corp., and the city were at odds over $238,000 that the city contends Metropolitan owes it.

During the debate over the matter, Moore asked the city to pave the streets in Keys Landing, saying the homeowners there pay taxes and city fees for water, sewer and electricity and deserve to have the streets paved.

“You pay us the $238,000 and we’ll get out there and pave the street,” Councilman Doug Mercer said to Moore during a council meeting in April.

After a little more discussion at that meeting, Councilman Larry Beeman made a motion that the city pave the streets in Keys Landing after Metropolitan paid the $238,000 to the city. Mercer seconded the motion, but it failed. Beeman and Mercer voted for the motion, but council members William Pitt, Virginia Finnerty and Richard Brooks voted against it. Finnerty said she needed more information about the matter before she could decide what course of action to support.

Brooks told Moore that he and Metropolitan should “take care of your financial obligations.”


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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