The Rutherford County Highway Department is facing a cash crunch in anticipation of needing to spend $3 million on roadwork related to plans to open the first of three new schools in Christiana in fall 2021.
Highway Superintendent Greg Brooks delivered the news last week to the Rutherford County Public Works & Planning Committee. He is asking to transfer the money from the fund balance to start road improvements. Of that total, $500,000 would be for right-of-way acquisition. The budget amendment will go to the county commission.
“This is not all of the money we are going to need,” Brooks said, adding that the opening date gives him only 22 months to work on the roadways using money from his budget, which he had not expected and that next time the department would have more notice the next time property is acquired.
The county plans to open the new elementary school in the Plainview-Hoovers Gap area of Christiana, Brooks said. The Highway Department will need to do widening and right-of-way acquisition for seven to eight miles of roads. The $3 million fund transfer will only cover this fiscal year’s work on school roads, so more funding will be needed for the next budget year.
The Highway Department has 67 employees, 65 of them road workers, according to discussion at the meeting. They have 970.36 miles of roads to maintain.
“We still have to do all of those day-to-day tasks and do our normal maintenance,” Brooks told the Murfreesboro Post. “We have to stay on our normal maintenance schedule.”
In other news, county staff reported that the inventory of residential lots ready for construction was at 960 in August. That compares to a January 2009 high of 1,700 lots.