Jackson Residents Get Repavement Bills

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Street repaving can be an inconvenience, but sometimes the real trouble doesn't come until the last orange barrel is removed: when the bills from the city go in the mail.

Kathy Bennett admits her street needed to be repaved.

"It was in sore shape," Bennett said.

Now she's left with more than a $3,300 bill for her section of Durand Street.

"I'd rather pay the whole chunk and be done with it, but then again, eh, that's a lot of chunk," Bennett said.

The Ganson Street Baptist Church is left with an even bigger chunk, more than $27,000.

"The church has a lot of street frontage on Ganson Street," Jackson City Assessor David Taylor said. "They ended up in that classification of non-residential, because they're not a residence."

That means the century-old church pays at the commercial rate, but it doesn't hold so much as a bake sale or bingo night. The leaders are surprised the city wouldn't cut them a break.

"It is what it is, and we'll struggle through to pay it," Russell Colburn said.

The city engineer said the average payment on Durand Steet is about $2,500, while those on Ganson range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars because there's so much more commercial property.

The final assessments fell well below what the city engineer estimated. In the end Durand Street cost a little more than $112,000, though it was originally estimated at $128,000; and Ganson Street totaled about $229,000, while it was slotted for $240,000. Many people believe the cost is worth it.

"It's a few bucks having a new street in front of the house, but it did cut down about five seconds on my time of arrival at home," Jim Johnson said. "So, that's great. And it's saving a lot of wear and tear on my automobile."

City Council said they're already looking forward to fixing more streets.

"Anything is better than driving on potholes and putting that money into fixing your car," 6th Ward City Council Member Derek Dobies said.

It's helped homeowners take pride in their property again.

"That section of the street is mine, and people better respect that street now," Bennett said. "I'll be the street police."

People on both Durand and Ganson have the option of paying in installments over 10 years. Homeowners and businesses on Ganson also qualify for assistance from the city through the Community Block Development Grant.

The repavings are guaranteed for 15-20 years, and the city assessor expects at least two more sets of bills to go out before the end of the year for other completed projects.

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