There was a pothole that needed fixing and City Commissioner Roger Marietta knew just the person to call: Albany Public Works Director Phil Roberson.
Never mind that the repair was on private property.
“If I had it to do over again, I would,” Roberson said Tuesday.
Roberson says he figured it took about three shovelfuls of asphalt and cost taxpayers less than $50 in man-hours and fuel to repair the huge hole in the lot at the U.S. Post Office’s Northwest Albany branch on Meredyth Drive. And he says it wasn’t necessarily Marietta’s call that motivated him to order the work done.
“There were other complaints about it. We didn’t treat the commissioner special,” Roberson said.
But Marietta said Tuesday it was indeed his call to Roberson that got the job done.
“One (citizen) said that the pothole was so deep that her steering well jumped out of her hands,” Marietta said. “I called Phil and know that it is not in my ward, but if we have extra asphalt one day in a temporary fix and if there is any cost I will pay for it out of my expense account.
“Phil looked into it and said that since it was a public safety issue that he would fix it and that the cost was negligible. He contacted the postmaster to let him know the landlord would need to implement a permanent fix.”
Not exactly. Roberson said he didn’t realize until Tuesday that the property in question wasn’t owned by the federal government. Indeed, Roberson said the only other times that he can recall having used taxpayer resources on private property was during the floods of 1994 and 1998.
Still, Roberson said he would respond if Marietta – or anyone else, for that matter – needed a pothole fixed as a public safety remedy.
“That’s what we are here for,” he said. “A sister agency (the post office) was involved and I err on the side of the motoring public.”
The public works crew’s efforts were just a temporary fix, Roberson said; the post office’s landlord will have to make a permanent repair to the parking lot – and soon.
“It’s already starting to be a problem again,” Roberson said. “There’s a lot of traffic there.”
By Kevin Hogencamp