Thursday, September 10, 2009
Candidates Respond, Part 7: What about Road Repairs? How and How Much?
by James H. Hadfield, Heber M. Thompson
LocalCommentary.com: There are reports that the City has neglected to fund ongoing road repairs adequately for as long as a decade. The numbers being tossed about are daunting -- assorted multiples of $10 million just to catch up -- and seem to suggest that substantial tax increases are coming. Is this true? If so, what is the scope of the problem, and how do you propose to address it?
JAMES H. HADFIELD
It is true that adequate road maintenance and restoration have been neglected for several years, as we looked forward to the installation of pressurized irrigation. We must now address this problem. The Public Works Director has a pavement management program that will address the needs of the city on a case-by-case basis. We must use all of our available resources to face this problem now! Sources such as B and C Road Funds (gas taxes), impact fees, federal grants, and an aggressive budget program will turn this condition around. It took us ten years to get here. It may take an equal amount of time to remedy these ills.
HEBER M. THOMPSON
"Numbers being tossed about" is exactly right. We are awaiting more definitive numbers and some possible options to consider. It would be pure speculation to comment in detail at this point. However on the horizon are some encouraging funding signs. Little local funds were needed to begin completion of the 50 East widening to 1100 East, thanks to federal government stimulus funds. Our bond consultants tell us that some new bonding options are available, with significantly lower interest rates. The bonding repayment on The Meadows will be met in 2011, freeing up some sales tax revenues. We will find a way to make significant progress on the roads in the future. Thanks to the foresight of the City Council we do start with a reserve of $1 million, from setting aside minor increases in the property tax in prior years. But like the Pressurized Irrigation system, we can't postpone any longer addressing this need.
Copyright 2009 by James H. Hadfield, Heber M. Thompson.
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