By Karen Cornelius
The Streets, Buildings, and Grounds Committee met on Monday, April 10, to discuss a proposed 2018 street rubric which would help decide the fate of future road repairs rather than the present year-by-year struggle to choose streets which fit into the limited budget.
Streets chairman Jim Forthofer said they reached an agreement in March after some debate on the streets they could repair in 2017. They are Birchview, Woodside, and Sailorway sections. When they were making this decision, a representative from Edison Estates Homeowners Association, Neal Norris, came forward to propose a disciplined analysis rubric of the city’s streets. Forthofer said that finance director Brian Keller took the initiative to begin preliminary work on the concept of a rubric.
Finance director Keller then explained forming this plan was in the idea phase, but it is something council could adopt as a way to decide on which streets to repair next. He said each council member could nominate three streets in their ward and enter them into this rubric along with different conditions such as the amount of traffic on the street, the number of residents on the street, the last repair on this street, community image, etc. Then they could score all these factors and see which streets rank the highest. Then they would compare these streets with the funds available for the next five years. “It’s a plan for residents to know where their streets stand rather than pleading every year to fix a street,” said Keller.
Chairman Forthofer said he liked this idea and it would give council a record to use to consider street repairs along with input from the city engineer and service director. He asked council members for a consensus to develop this further and see if they could adopt this system and use it for next year’s street selection. “I ask that we go forward.” He said this document would be the basis for a disciplined year long data gathering of streets’ issues rather than a once-a-year process. It would be a living document. Once established it will be the basis for council’s street discussion next year and a rough five-year street plan thereafter.
Council president Steve Herron said it was a very good idea and would have to line up with the finances so they can ask the right questions, such as what streets they can afford. Councilman Brian Holmes thought it would show council a plan to the future, and they could physically see if the finances were there. Councilwoman Barb Brady said it was important for Keller to include a block for costs.
Council-at-large Monica Stark said this makes her a little nervous. She said they already have lists and know the need. While it’s a great idea, people could see their street listed for 2020 and then it might not happen. “We can’t guarantee it. We have to exercise caution,” said Stark. Forthofer replied they can de-bug it as they go along.
Councilman Frank Loucka thought it was a great first step. He suggested they could do a base-line analysis of all the streets in the city and keep a record of when those streets were paved and what each street needs. “I would help work on it. We would have a ledger of where we are now. We have so many forgotten streets,” said Loucka, who suggested doing this by June. Councilwoman Brady said she had a list of streets from 2003 and the city has other lists to use to update.
Chairman Forthofer said he sensed that they could move forward and he, Keller, and Loucka could get together and bring something back for council to review.