By Patrick Yost
Madison City Council Member, Joe DiLetto, ended last Friday’s city council work session with a strong admonition of allegations he said he had read in political advertising in the Morgan County Citizen regarding truck traffic through downtown.
“First of all. I’ve been working on this for four and a half years through the DOT (Department of Transportation) and the County,” DiLetto said. He said the recent hiring of Morgan County Manager, Adam Mestres, had broken a communication stalemate between the two local governing bodies.
“The manager change in the county has opened the door for conversations that had been shut down,” he said.
He also said that the city and county had authorized a state engineering study for solutions to downtown truck traffic. He said when that study was completed, the city and county would review the proposals.
But he saved the bulk of his rift for people and candidates to use the truck traffic controversy for what he insinuated was political gain.
“It’s outlandish for people to be out there saying this mayor and council has ignored the truck problem issue. It’s absolutely absurd.”
DiLetto took issue with political promises of resolution of the issue.
“If these people had all these magic wands, why did they not do something by now? Where where they six years ago… where were they eight years ago?” asked DiLetto. “If I lived in Madison for 10 years and I knew how to solve the truck traffic problem six years ago, I would have stepped up. I would have said, ‘Hey, listen Mayor Gilbert (the mayor at the time) here’s what I can do to help you.’ But to sit back and fold your arms and all of sudden say, ‘I’ve got all the magic wands and I can fix it,’ is ridiculous.”
Diletto didn’t stop there.
“I get a little inflamed, as you can tell,” he told the council, “that people are making these claims that we don’t do anything. Carrie (Reids–Peter) does stuff, Rick (Blanton) does stuff, Bobby Crawford does stuff, Chris (Hodges) does stuff, I do stuff every day that people don’t understand, don’t appreciate and don’t know what we do but it’s always for the positive benefit of this city.”
Council Member Hodges said she was currently working with Georgia State Sen. Burt Jones to create legislation that would address the problem and install more signs regarding trucks using the by–pass.
Diletto said there is a process to get something positive done on the truck traffic.
“Again, there is a current engineering study going on through the state that will create a tremendous benefit to downtown truck traffic but this has to be a county issue situation. The county has to have the solution to it, it’s just not something we can force anybody to do and I’m grateful that the county is looking, is opening their eyes to say that they will take a look. As soon as we have the engineering study, we will present it to the county and let the county present it from their point of view whether they want to help or not.”