County Paving Plan
Council members sat down with Taylor and County Commissioner Mike Yoder after their meeting Saturday to discuss funding concerns connected to the county’s annual pave and seal road maintenance project.
According to Yoder, 2013 is looking to be a tight year financially for the County Highway Department, leaving some question as to whether or not the department will be able to find the $1.5 million needed to complete part one of its annual pave and seal program.
“We’ve got some pretty significant shortfalls in this budget,” Yoder said. “I’m not sure if we can determine where we are going to get that money today, but if Jeff and I can get some sort of a sense from you that we will have it, then that helps us put together a program.”
One suggestion raised during the discussion was possibly borrowing money from the County Redevelopment Commission, most likely through TIF funds, as a possible source of funding for at least some roads located within TIF districts.
Letherman also noted there are several bills working their way through the legislature that may result in additional money for the county.
“There are a half dozen bills right now floating around,” Letherman said, “everything from increasing the gas tax to raising the wheel tax, all kinds of stuff.”
Yoder acknowledged that such bills are a possible funding source, but worries that, if passed, they would not result in additional revenue until next year at the earliest.
“If we knew there were some numbers that might change between now and July, I’d say yeah, we will put together a plan A, and then a plan B if more money comes,” Yoder said. “But I’m not sure we see any changes. Any changes that might come from the state legislature I think for local road funding probably won’t make a difference until next year.”
Councilman Dave Hess recommended that Yoder reserve some time between now and the council’s upcoming April meeting to sit down with the council and do some brainstorming in an effort to find the best solution to the issue.
“That’s fine,” Yoder said. “I’m not looking for answers today, just a sense that we’re probably going to find that $1.5.”
And that sense did appear to be forthcoming Saturday, with a majority of the council indicating their willingness to work at finding a solution to the paving issue.
“You’ve got to pave the roads,” said Councilman David Foutz. “I think you start with that as an imperative.”