Blackwell and Hill address citizens’ concerns

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – State Sen. Slade Blackwell, R-Birmingham, addressed the Jefferson County sewer and U.S. 280 issues during a town hall meeting in Chelsea Oct. 27.

Blackwell said the Jefferson County sewer “crisis” would affect Shelby County in the long run, especially in regards to interest rates on bond issues.

“I thought that bankruptcy was the way to go, that it was like personal bankruptcy,” he said. “They’d have to pay back everything. It’s the worst thing that could happen to our state.”

In response to a question about plans for a possible elevated highway over U.S. 280, Blackwell said, “They’re keeping that real secret, but (the government) has been working with the Department of Transportation for surveying.”

State Rep. Mike Hill, R-Columbiana, said he’s doubtful if the stretch of U.S. 280 from Chelsea to I-459 would generate enough revenue to justify the heavy debt needed for an elevated highway.

Hill was on hand for the meeting to present a $10,000 in grant money to Dana Polk for the Chelsea Library, which she said she’ll use for library improvements.

Additionally, Blackwell and Hill addressed the approval of the Alabaster school district.

“I’m not necessarily supportive of it, but I’ve spent my life staying out of the city’s business,” Hill said. “I’m sorry they broke up a school system that I thought was doing a good job. I’m not criticizing, and I think we’ll both come out OK. I think they’ll struggle more than they think they will.”