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City borrowing less for this year’s street construction list

City officials are further down the road toward having to borrow funds annually for doing their street repair work.

In presenting the administration’s proposed $1 million 2011 street project list to City Council, Planning and Development Director Kim Wenger said roughly half of the street list will be paid for with general fund and other money specifically earmarked for those kind of projects. The city will still borrow funds to pay for the remaining portion as well as seeking various grants for assistance on major projects, she said.

“Our ultimate goal is to not borrow funds at all for the street projects,” she said. “We want to reduce our dependence on borrowing, particularly for this type of project.”

Mayor Kevin Kennedy said he wants to continue to reduce the city’s current outstanding debt of about $40 million.

“We’ll be much better off when we have less of that to deal with,” he said.

Wenger said the ultimate goal will be to pay for all the regular city streets from within regular budgets.

“We want to be able to handle street repairs on municipal roads and streets on our own,” she said. “When there is major work on county or state roads which go through the city, we’re going to seek assistance from grants and funding from the other governmental bodies. Those are usually big ticket projects with a lot of cost and usually require some kind of assistance.”

Referring to the overall proposed project list, City Engineer Pete DiFranco said Josephine Drive and Vita Lane, both located in Ward 3, had the worst street ranking list of 4 in the annual survey of city streets done by the engineering and street department workers.

Wenger noted all the remaining projects had ratings of 5. She said there were about 30 of those and that workers tried to pick ones from that list which best fit the criteria for work this year. She also cited as progress, the fact that the city is making headway when it is working on streets with rankings of 4 and 5. When the city implemented the street ranking list during former Mayor Thomas O’ ‘Grady’s administration, it had to begin work on streets ranked in the 1, 2 and 3 categories.

She said the list concentrates on streets which allowed the city to fit it within the $1 million budget.

The city will continue to seek funds and assistance, she added, for major roadways like Bradley, Butternut Ridge, Columbia and Walter roads. The city has obtained assistance in recent years for work on Clague, Dover Center and Lorain roads, among others.

Overall, DiFranco noted that Ward 3 had the most streets on this year’s list with six.

In addition to Josephine and Vita, the other streets in Ward 3 are: Dorothy, Elder, Magnolia and Northern. The other wards and their streets are: Ward 1: Dogwood, Forestwood and Linwood. Ward 2: Amesbury and Gessner west of Walter. Ward 4: Allendale and Carey.

 

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