Residents piled into the county supervisors meeting room in Canton Tuesday night to ask why funds originally budgeted to pave their roads were removed, setting up a showdown between Board President Trey Baxter and District 4 Supervisor David Bishop.

Two weeks ago, Baxter was joined by District 1 Supervisor Sheila Jones and District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin in transferring monies slated for a series of roads in District 4 to other road projects ranging from Bozeman Road to Deerfield off Hoy Road. 

Scott Mardis of 182 McCullough Lane in Flora and his father asked supervisors to do something about McCullough Lane and Cane Creek Road.

“It’s really, really bad,” Mardis said.

He said there are potholes that continue to be patched, but after two weeks they are “back to normal.”

Wallace Kinkade echoed Mardis’ sentiments. 

Other residents asked about other roads, wondering why the county approved funds for repairs back in October only to switch that money to other roads four months later. 

Bishop asked the same questions to fellow board members, claiming there was no transparency and arguing that some board members were practicing the same kind of “bad government” many ran against in 2015. 

“All the roads that were substituted are roads in District 4,” he said.

Bishop said that on Oct. 15, 2018, supervisors voted unanimously to spend $850,600 to repair a number of roads, including Livingston Drive, Cane Creek Road, Society Ridge, Bidon Drive, Gus Green Road and Harris Road to name a few. 

The roads on Baxter’s list, 16 in total, cost approximately $703,000. Some of those roads include Plantation Drive, Cedar Ridge Drive and Sunset Drive.

“Four months later, those roads are not important?” he asked. “All taxpayers in Madison County deserve to have their roads maintained. Taxpayers in District 4 deserve an explanation.”

Baxter said Bozeman Road has 17,000 cars a day and $150,000 was needed for maintenance while the four-lane project remains in the works. Baxter cited an earlier issue brought up by a resident whose son hit a pothole and tore up two tires in December. (See story, A5). 

“These folks pay the same taxes,” Bishop responded. “They deserve roads also.”

Baxter then said he had to “make up for the bond issue y’all cut me out on. Remember cutting me out of the bond issue? I had to make up for it.”

“Are you taking it off because you’re mad at me?” Bishop quickly responded. “That’s the bad government we ran against right there.”

Bishop then made a motion to revert to the original plan and fund $850,600 worth of road projects in District 4.

District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen seconded the motion but said the roads that were replaced are in just as bad shape as the others. 

“They’re in bad shape as well,” Steen said. “I think we have an issue here. We need to look at the general fund.”

Steen said he would entertain a motion to pay for all of the roads on both Bishop ’s and Baxter’s lists utilizing general fund monies, but no motion was ever made. 

Bishop’s initial motion to switch out roads on the funded plan failed 3-2, with he and Steen voting for the measure.