Abilene City Council moves forward with a street maintenance advisory board

The Abilene City Council decided to create a street maintenance advisory and appeals board at Thursday’s city council meeting.

"This is yet another step of trying to put together an opportunity to address streets,” said Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams. "This is a direct response to what the public has communicated to us about our high level of engagement and more importantly, our high level of accountability."

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna explained what the new board will be overseeing.

"The board's duties would be to advise a director of public works to identify and determine the sequence of street maintenance projects and thoroughfare alignments. To recommend a list of projects for funding to the city manager for incorporation for the city’s annual budget," Hanna said.

The mayor announced the seven nominees for the new board at the meeting. The nominees are as follows: Kenneth Martin, Wayne Lanham, Louis Rangel, Michael Schultz, James Bridwell, Kristina Davis and Matthew Lubin. Council agreed that the seats for Places 1, 3, 5 and 7 will expire in 2021 and that the seats for Places 2, 4 and 6 will expire in 2020. The Abilene City Council members want to let citizens know that the board members will not be able to set or raise fees and that positions on the board are not paid positions.

"They do not get paid,” said Councilman Shane Price. “We get paid a dollar a year. They don't get paid even that much, so I appreciate their willingness to serve and sometimes be a lightning rod when decisions are unpopular."

The Abilene City Council wants to let citizens know that they still want to hear from members of the public.

"I think all of us up here are wanting to hear from everybody through this entire process,” said Councilman Kyle McAlister.

Board members will be appointed at the next city council meeting on March 22.

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