Palm Bay man hits road block in getting roads repaired

Resident collects dozens of neighborhood signatures in support

PALM BAY, Fla. – The long road to getting results for some Palm Bay residents fed up with pothole-covered streets hit a dead end Thursday night.

Southeast Palm Bay resident Paul Basham, who originally spoke with News 6 Tuesday, collected five dozen neighbors' signatures in support of his petition to demand that the city repave dozens of streets that have not been repaired in decades.

"Everybody says the same thing: You never got no money. So I'd like to hear something besides, 'I ain't got no money,'" he told City Council members on Thursday night. "I'd like to hear somebody say, 'I do have money. We will fix your roads.'"

Basham said he put the petition together after watching the original News 6 report last week when another southeast Palm Bay resident shared her pothole frustrations.

"I'm happy someone else is on my side. We can maybe collaborate and take this further," Krystle Vanderpluym-Hansen said about Basham starting a petition.

At the meeting, tensions got heated when City Councilmember Tres Holton tried to explain why the city could not afford to fix the roads.

Mayor William Capote had to stop the meeting several times as members of the audience shouted out to council members.

"I think we all are adults here," he said. "We can agree to disagree on the issue, but please stay within the framework."

Holton blamed previous city councils and their spending for leaving the city in a situation where they couldn't afford to repair the roads.

"Believe me, I wish I owned a DeLorean, and I could go back in time, and I could change the past, but I can't dwell on what previous councils did," he said.

Public Works told News 6 Tuesday it can only afford to repave some roads; most get patched over and over.

The FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are trying to figure out what is happening with the city finances. Neither agency is investigating the roads, but rather, the city and its spending on other operations, such as a program involving homes for veterans.

The feds issued a subpoena for records.

Basham told News 6 if there are questions about that program, perhaps there should be about road spending, too.

When asked if he thinks the city wants neighbors to keep quiet and settle for pothole-covered roads, Basham answered, "That's why the roads are the way they are now. People sit back and do nothing. The more people (are) there complaining to them about what you need, is the best chance you're ever going to have of getting a road fixed." 

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