Indecision is not a decision

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Hogansville City Council has spent a lot of time during its last few meetings talking about two topics — the city’s website and fixing Pine Street.

Unfortunately, it seems a final decision hasn’t been reached on either. Monday night’s meeting included discussion on the website, which City Manager David Milliron has said is completely out of date and is in jeopardy of going down for good if updates are not made. Milliron said earlier this month that the website does not include easily-accessible information on tourism, doesn’t allow the Downtown Development Authority to maintain a database on vacant properties and doesn’t let citizens subscribe to information or emergency updates sent out by the city. According to Milliron, there’s a line item in the city’s budget for up to $10,396 that could be used to pay for the city’s website, and bids for the work have come in below that figure. At the April 1 meeting, Councilwoman Theresa Strickland questioned whether the city should commit that much to the website and tabled the discussion until this past Monday.

This week, the discussion on the website quickly shifted to Pine Street, another longtime Hogansville topic that the council had seemingly made a decision on earlier this month. During its March 18 meeting, the council decided to hold off on repairing the street on the advice of city consultant and career engineer Adam Price.

During that March 18 meeting, the city council was considering accepting a bid for a road paving project on Pine Street that would have cost the city between $155,000 and $165,000. Price said any work on the road might be for naught in two years, since funding might soon be available through a Community Development Block Grant that the city could use to replace the water lines that run parallel below Pine Street. As a byproduct of that work, the city could fix all problems with the road using this grant money. Thus, if that grant is received, any work the council agreed to carry out now on the road would be a temporary fix, essentially making any money spent now incredibly short-lived. A civil engineer with the company the city council was considering granted the bid to was also at that meeting, and recommended the city wait as well, backing up Price’s logic.

In light of this information, the city council decided to delay any work on Pine Street until it has received word whether or not the CDBG grant has been approved, which it should know in approximately five months. This was a tough decision, as Pine Street is in dire need of repair, but through a long-term lens, was likely the correct decision.

Three of the most recent Hogansville meetings have centered around these two topics, hours of debate has ensued, and a month later the debate continues. Hogansville meetings are generally longer than other city government meetings in Troup County, which should be surprising since it’s a city of only 3,000 people. However, part of that reason is due to unique budgetary challenges the city faces, but is also due to indecisiveness and the repeated action of kicking the proverbial can down the road for another day. While we understand these decisions aren’t easy, the council and mayor are tasked to work through these difficult topics. That’s what the citizens of Hogansville elected them to do.

Like the council, we don’t have the ability to see the future or know precisely what the right decision is with the website or Pine Street. However, we know both still need to be fixed — Pine Street either now or once the CDBG money comes in and the website at any point in the near future. Indecision fixes neither.