For the third time in two months an attempt to fund over $850,000 on less than a dozen roads in District 4 of Madison County failed as residents in the area continue to flood the Board of Supervisors’ meeting room to argue for their fair share of tax money. 

District 4 Supervisor David Bishop tried once again Monday to spend money from the county’s general fund to the tune of $850,600 for the following roads: Cane Creek Road, Gus Green Road, Hammock Road, Harris Road, Livingston Drive, Biden Drive, McCullough Lane, Society Ridge, Windermere Boulevard, and Windy Hill Drive. 

Funding for those roads was initially approved in an unanimous vote by supervisors in October 2018, but that money was taken off those roads and put on a number of other roads earlier this year. 

“They pay taxes and they deserve to have those roads fixed,” Bishop told fellow supervisors Monday. “They are some of the worst roads in this county. For us to sit here and not give them help, I think it’s completely wrong.”

Bishop’s first attempt last month to retrieve funding for the roads would have taken it off the roads the money was moved to. The last two attempts, Bishop has tried to take the money from the general fund. 

“There’s money in the general fund,” Bishop said. If the county were to spend general fund money on road repairs, they would have to give the municipalities a portioned amount of money as well. To spend the full $850,600, supervisors would have to appropriate approximately $350,000 in additional money to the cities.

District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen, who has voted with Bishop each time to fund the certain road projects, came to his aid again Monday by saying they would be helping the cities as well. 

Steen said that if the county spent the full amount from the general fund, Flora would receive $3,800, Canton would receive $23,000, Madison would receive $150,000, and Ridgeland would receive $172,000. 

“That’s a good thing too,” he said. “They’re struggling with road issues as well.”

County Comptroller Greg Higginbotham told supervisors there is a general fund reserve balance of around $15 million, conservatively. 

Steen asked how much the county actually needs in the event of an emergency, which Higginbotham answered around 8 to 10 million. 

“We have the money to move out of the general fund to repair the roads and streets the money was actually moved off,” Steen said. 

Bishop said $850,600 of $15 million was “minute” and said for anyone to argue the county doesn’t have money to repair the roads is wrong. 

However, District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin pointed to an issue on King Ranch Road a concerned citizen brought up earlier in the meeting as a reason why he can’t support spending general fund money on Bishop’s road projects. An estimated cost for upgrades to King Ranch Road is $2.5 million. 

“Do I vote for $800K when I got $2.5M I consider an emergency,” Griffin said. “My answer is no I can’t vote for that unless I can put $2.5 million in that motion with you to go on King Ranch Road.”

District 1 Supervisor Sheila Jones said the budget is only five months old and “it sounds to me like we did some poor planning if we’re fixing to take money out of the general fund.”

Bishop quickly responded to Jones, saying the money was planned and then moved off so it wasn’t poor planning on his behalf. 

Jones said there are bad roads throughout the entire county and more problems continue to arise, with large price tags. 

Board President Trey Baxter said they have several large road projects in the works totaling tens of millions of dollars. 

Despite the pleas from the crowd and Bishop, the motion once again failed 3-2, with Steen the lone supporter with Bishop.