October 9, 2008

Funds for streets

Funds for streets

Council OKs $5 utility jump

Come January, it’s going to cost each water user in Garrison an additional $5 a month. The hope from city officials is that the money generated will offset the cost of future street repairs.

During their regular monthly meeting Monday, council members reviewed the list of street repairs and patching projects as recommended by Bechtold Paving, Inc., of Minot. But looking at the bottom line gave council members a queasy feeling. How could these repairs be made with a limited budget.

Looking for a way to establish a source of income to enable the needed repairs to be made the council struggled with how to get the projects done to stay ahead of the ongoing deteriorating road curve. Options were weighed, including increasing the mill levy, which council members shied away from – and implementing street specials. But the drawback there is that the present specials run through 2014.

Concerns were raised. What would seem to be the fairest for all the citizens? Saying the best way would be to add $5 to the monthly utility bill, council members agreed to establish a set-aside street repair fund earmarked for street maintenance and repair. By establishing the fund city officials estimate about $40,000 could be raised annually.

More than $43,000 is budgeted for 2009 toward street repairs and crack sealing. But the amount needed to make recommended repairs next year is more than $177,000.

This year, city officials doled out $82,000 for street repairs. Aldermen scrambled to find enough funds from other sources to pay for those repairs.

"This will help take a little bit of the pressure off," reasoned Alderman Rick Gienger. "It’s either do this or it would be a property tax increase or additional specials."

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