Construction for sidewalk installments along Byler Road in District 4 of Moulton should begin sometime this fall after a hold was placed on the project in April due to COVID-19.

Mayor Roger Weatherwax said construction should begin in September after the project is rebid this July.

In a council meeting last week, Weatherwax said the project needed to be rebid after it was put on a six-month hold by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The mayor said he requested the delay in April to allow the city time to assess impacts on revenue and spending due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pre-bids will be accepted on July 23, he said in a work session on Monday. Open bids for the project will be accepted on July 30.

Discussions for the project began about six years ago under the administration of former Mayor Ray Alexander after an apartment complex was built. The city received a $400,000 grant in 2015 to install a curb and gutter from Alabama 33 to the triangle at Byler and Pinhook Road. The project also included the construction of a sidewalk from AL-33 to Danville Road.

In April of 2017, the council then under the direction of Weatherwax, learned the sidewalks would run almost the entire length of Byler Road, from Moulton Village Apartments near Alabama 157 all the way to AL-33.

Lee, who said she has fought for sidewalks in her district for more than 10 years, said the project on Byler Road would improve the quality of life for handicapped residents and school-aged children who walk the road to campus.

In September of 2017, the City Council discussed implementing the project in phases after the lowest project bid came back at $650,153. A sidewalk was installed from AL-33 to the triangle, in District 5 Councilmember Brent White’s District, because the state required the construction of a new sidewalk to begin where the existing sidewalk ends.

Council members are hopeful to see the sidewalk completed this year or by early 2021, despite the setbacks and unknown financial impacts of COVID-19.

City auditor Jeremy Jefferys said the sidewalk project, as well as final projects at the city’s new ballparks, should fit easily into the budget for fiscal year 2021 according to revenues and expenditures projected from the current fiscal budget but warned that Moulton will not likely see the hit business licenses may take from the pandemic until January.

In a regular council meeting last month, Weatherwax announced that sales tax revenue from January to April was up compared to the same months in 2019 despite the pandemic.

Weatherwax reported a five percent increase in sales tax revenue for the first four months of 2020 in comparison to the first four months of last year. He said tax revenue generated from alcohol sales was down four percent for the first four months.

According to Weatherwax, January saw a 14 percent increase from last year in sales tax, with alcohol tax down 26 percent.

In February, sales tax was up seven percent and alcohol tax was up 11 percent. Sales tax dropped six percent in March, but alcohol tax increased by four percent, and in April, sales tax revenue was up again by four percent, and alcohol tax was up by 19 percent, he said.

Jefferys said it could be another month before the city can determine whether those trends in tax revenue will continue.

All members were present for the Monday night work session. The council will hold its next regular meeting on Monday, July 6.

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