Island Gazette

Really Bad Timing for Wilmington Beach Paving Project

I hope that the Carolina Beach Town Board and  Town Manager realize that timing could not be worse than it is right  now for pushing ahead with the Wilmington Beach Paving Project this  summer.
This is one reason why:  The largest factor in  determining the cost of paving is based on the present price of crude oil.   Right now it is at around $105.00 per barrel and rising.  This escalating  cost of crude oil has already driven up the 'per ton' cost of asphalt.  The  NCDOT presently (as of April - 2011) has the FOB cost of asphalt at $588.26 per  metric ton, and steadily rising.  This is a major jump over what it was  when the project assessment estimates came out in 2005.  At that time  the NCDOT (April - 2005) had the FOB cost of asphalt at $236.34 per metric  ton.  That's an increase of over 100%.  Pushing projects through  at the wrong time can drive up total costs and assessment costs beyond what is  acceptable, and, or feasible.  Why the big hurry? Now is not the  time. The same oil prices driving up asphalt is also driving  up gas prices ($3.60 + per gallon and rising) which will also highly affect  the Paving  Project cost.  Which in turn, affects everyone's  household financial budgets.
The Wilmington Beach Paving Project is not being  assisted by funding from Stimulus Plans, or any other U.S. Government  assistance.  It is being funded by all Carolina Beach Taxpayers along with  the Property Owners assessments, such as myself, who have property in the  Wilmington Beach area.  This is why in a horrible economy, with  unemployment at extreme levels, rising cost for almost all basic necessities, we  have to make choices, sometimes tough choices.  Our leadership and  Management need to differentiate between addressing urgent and  pressing issues (projects) and non essential "luxury" issues during these  tough times.  Building and paving new streets are  things the town should think about doing when they have a huge budget surplus,  which is definitely not the case at the present time. I know, we have heard in the past that it is  cheaper to pave it all at one time, but in this case, we again are not just  talking about fixing existing streets in need.  As a part of this  project, we are also talking about building brand new streets  though woods and wetlands.
On a side note, I believe that anyone on the Town Board  who may profit through the development of these new streets being built in the  undeveloped areas, (be it through possible future real estate listings of these  new lots, or the possibility of their construction firm being chosen and  assigned to future projects within this area), take the proper and expected roll  entrusted of them, and excuse themselves from any future decision  made on this project.  This way no 'clouds' of possible conflict of  interest will be shadowing the outcome of this project.
There is a meeting for April 13 about the Wilmington  Beach Paving Project, and unfortunately, I will be unable to attend.  I  only hope the decision makers use wise and proper judgement, and postpone  paving, and reevaluate the non-urgent and costly building of new streets  through woods and wetlands funded by all Carolina Beach Taxpayers.
Thank You,
JD Jones
Carolina Beach, NC


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