Thursday, October 27, 2005

Referendum asks $500,000 for roads

Published in the Current

SOUTH PORTLAND (Oct 27, 2005): South Portland voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to approve borrowing $500,000 for road paving and sidewalk reconstruction around the city.

The question stems from a decision by the City Council earlier this year to focus on roads and sidewalks as one of a few priorities, according to City Manager Jeff Jordan.

Councilors and other city officials – as well as residents – have noticed potholes in roads and deteriorating sidewalks, and the city needs to “play catch-up,” Jordan said.

The council has already agreed to spend $500,000 from existing surplus funds, of which $400,000 would be used for road repaving and $100,000 for sidewalks. The council also is asking voters for another $500,000, to be split the same way, to do more work in the spring, Jordan said. The interest on the bond is estimated at $123,750 over the life of the borrowing package.

Public Works Director Dana Anderson said the city has a list of road and sidewalk projects that would cost $20 million to complete.

He would not talk about specific locations that would be improved with the money, saying he was worried the details might make road improvements a political issue rather than a transportation problem.

The city used to spend about $400,000 a year on road maintenance but has put off the work the last couple of years because of budget constraints, he said.

“We’re really losing the edge,” and need to catch up, Anderson said. “Every other year we’re going to have to do some bonding” to keep on top of the work that needs doing, he said.