By ARTHUR L. MACK
MOBILE — The Mobile City Council on Tuesday voted to lay over for one week adopting the 2017-18 budgets for the general fund, capital improvement strategic plan and the Mobile Convention Center in order to answer additional questions regarding certain funds.
City Council President Gina Gregory told the Call News that among questions that had to be answered included information from the mayor’s office.
“There were still some questions,” she said. “We asked for information from the administration and we’re waiting to get that back. One was how the economic development funds have been spent over the last couple of years. Also, there were some specific questions about GulfQuest — how the city is paying and what the city is paying. Today, questions came up about the city’s agreement with the county about the rent.”
Gregory said since the budget was not being voted on today, there would be another finance committee meeting on Sept. 19 to get more answers.
“We don’t have to vote on the budget next week, either,” she said. “We can put it off until the 29th if there are still more questions.”
City council members, however, voted on several other items. Two of them were resolutions held over from last week. One was a contract with C. Thornton, Inc. for Walsh Park, which is located near Dauphin Island Parkway. The contract is for $99,437 for concrete paving, basketball court resurfacing and park furnishings.
The other is in the amount of $628,269.60 for Grand Boulevard drainage improvements. The contract is with McElhenney Construction Company. Grand Boulevard, which is in Councilman Fred Richardson’s district, has had a problem with flooding for many years.
“At the end of the project, it is hoped there will be no more flooding on Grand Boulevard,” Richardson said after passing of the resolution.
A capital improvement project resolution was also passed. This resolution, a contract with Harris Contracting Services in the amount of $21,480, is for the Dog River Park scoreboard repair.
Public Safety Director James Barber talked about traffic in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. He said steps were taken to ensure an orderly flow for those who were heading back to Florida.
“What you’re seeing now is a reverse flow, which began (Monday) afternoon, of evacuees trying to get back to Florida along ,with relief efforts,” he said. “That includes utility trucks, as well as semis carrying relief supplies.”
Barber said police officers are currently stationed along Interstate 10 to help in the event of breakdowns and fender benders.
“Inevitably, when you have that kind of congestion, you have fender benders and we’re trying to get them as quickly as possible out of the roadway to help with that flow of relief supplies and evacuees,” he said. “You are seeing some commercial traffic being diverted around the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge. We have officers helping motorists to get back on the interstate. Depending on the damage (in Florida) there may be two, maybe three days of evacuees returning back to Florida, but you still have that traffic which includes relief supplies, and then you’ll see a reversal, with utility trucks headed back west.”