Concerned Citizens — City Street Improvements
About three years ago we started planning for a street improvement project that would improve or touch 60 to 70 percent of our city streets. Council realized that we had not been allocating enough funds to properly maintain our roads and they asked the Manager to provide a list of city streets and when each would be paved. Council wanted to address the roads issue in a meaningful and impactful way.
After discussion, the decision was made to hire a professional engineering company that specialized in street maintenance/paving, to come in and do a thorough street by street analysis of road conditions in order to come up with a comprehensive plan. That proposal to hire was discussed at the annual Town Retreat in early 2020, and was authorized by Council Action at the March, 2020 board meeting.
The survey was completed and presented to staff and Town Council for review. It was deemed too expensive to resurface all 25 miles of town streets, so SEPI Engineering recommended some streets be resurfaced, while others were crack sealed and patched. The best streets would be crack sealed, patched and “chip sealed” to extend the life of the road system. This was part of their report to the Town in March 2021.
In August of 2021, a “Public Hearing” on financing of street improvements was held at Town Hall. A budget of 2 million dollars was proposed to address road needs.
On November 8, 2021, Council adopted Resolution #R-2021-20 to approve the financing of the Street Rehabilitation/lmprovement Project.
Council authorized a low interest loan to make improvements to roads for our citizens, all while keeping the tax rate at .615 where it has been since 2008.
• As information, we have a little over 25 miles of streets in Town to maintain and we receive an annual allocation of Powell Bill funds from NCDOT which usually runs around $110K.
• Resurfacing city streets per mile is estimated to cost $185 to 200K per mile.
• LGC— Local Government Commission – has to approve borrowing at the city level. Our plan of action and loan were approved by LGC.
• Planning – The planning for the work being done started in 2020, with Council hiring an outside engineering firm to make recommendations. This was a well discussed, thought out plan which required approval and bidding per Town policy and regulations.
• Resurfacing all city streets would carry an estimated cost of five million dollars, and if approved by LGC, would require a significant tax increase, and approval by Council.
• We believe the plan implemented is sound and should upon analysis be considered the best use of Town funds, without burdening our tax payers with a significant tax increase.
• The “chip seal” process is used to maintain and extend the road & is done by adding tar and rock in that order, during two applications. It is an accepted NCDOT practice state wide & on residential streets should hold up well.