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Decatur City Council to discuss TxDOT proposal on road takeover

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Decatur City Council Monday evening will discuss a controversial proposal by the state to turn over portions of state-owned roads to the city.

The concept, known as the “Turnback” program, was originally conceived to save the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) as much as $165 million by transferring control of 1,900 miles of state highways and farm-to-market roads to the cities where they are located.

The idea was that within cities, those roads have evolved into city streets, and it would be better if the municipalities had control over them.

But cities quickly balked at the “unfunded mandate” noting that it would create a huge unbudgeted expense. The city of Dallas had 100 miles of such roads, and San Antonio had 129 miles.

In April, after negotiations with the Texas Municipal League, TxDOT announced that the program would be voluntary. In Lubbock and San Antonio, TxDOT has agreed to use its cost savings from the cities’ takeover of state roads on transportation projects within those cities.

In Decatur, the affected streets would be the portions of Farm Road 51 and 730 within the city.

The agenda item calls for the council to receive information from Mayor Martin Woodruff and city staff on the turnback program, and take appropriate action.

The council meets at 5:30 for a work session to hear reports on the airport, city finances, the library, the Main Street program and police department.

The regular meeting starts at 6 p.m. and includes action on a special permit to allow a funeral home on Preskitt Road, appointing Wayne Stone to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, an update from Police Chief Rex Hoskins on the city’s public safety warning system and acceptance of the quarterly investment report.

Both the work session and the meeting are open to the public. The council meets at City Hall, 201 E. Walnut.

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