Where the Rails Cross the River
The City Council recently held a Saturday morning session to discuss the city budget for the upcoming year. It comes as no surprise – expenses continue to increase, particular costs of labor and material both for the city itself and for those services for which we contract.
With the recent harsh winter, a number of streets need repairs ranging from patching to major overlay. Funds for this work come from our motor fuel tax allotment. But with the price of gas approaching $4 per gallon, people are not as quick to take a drive unless they have to. And more fuel efficient cars also result in fewer dollars for road work. In short, the city has to pay more for street repairs but has about the same or fewer dollars available to do the needed work.
The Public Works Committee works with the City Engineer and Public Works Department to identify the streets in greatest need of repair. Can we do all that we need to? Unfortunately, the money just doesn’t exist. As a result, we prioritize hoping to get to those streets that are in most need of repair and that have a heavy volume of traffic.
We all wish resources were more readily available to do all that’s needed, not only in street repair but in other areas within the City. And in some cases, we’re limited to only certain dollars . . . we can’t always take money from one fund and give it to another.
I encourage you to alert city officials if you see an area that is in serious need of repair. I also ask for your patience as we stretch our resources to meet basic needs.