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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — With any luck, road crews should be busy in the city of Columbus by September.

City Project Manager Robyn Eastman will meet with city councilmen this week to finalize road, sidewalk and drainage projects in the city’s six  wards by Friday. The proposed project list currently tops $6.3 million but after legal and engineering fees are paid, the city will only have about $4.5 million left from $5 million in bonds that will be issued during the next month.

The bond issue will require a 1.1 mill property tax increase — annual bond payment costs are expected to be at least $350,000 — starting this fall but under thee bond repayment structure and by paying off other debt in the next three years, the city hopes to be able to start setting aside as much as $300,000 a year by 2017 for road maintenance. That’s currently not done.

If Eastman and council members can agree on lists by the end of the week, City Engineer Kevin Stafford, with Neel-Schaffer, can started putting together detailed plans and bid packages. Contracts could then be taken in late July and awarded in August once the city has the bond money available.

The City Council finalized the timetable today after deciding to give each councilman $750,000 for work in their districts. Some council members pushed setting some citywide priorities first but they finally agreed to work among themselves to address some of the busiest roadways first.

I would hope that we could look at some of the busiest roads first and agree on those and then let the rest be divided up among each district,” Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem said, citing College Street, 2nd Avenue North, 14th Avenue and others as examples.

Second Avenue North has become a busy alternative to Main Street from downtown to East Columbus and also is one of the city’s widest streets. Repaving it will cost an estimated $250,000.

But other council members said by working together on major projects that cross ward lines, the council can address citywide needs as well as individual ward needs.

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