Licking County News

Pataskala eyes $1.5M in bonds to fund 2013 roadwork

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Pataskala City Council must decide how much money to spend on street improvements in 2013 and whether the city should issue bonds to fund them.

City Council is expected to hear the third reading Oct. 1 of an ordinance to issue $1.5 million in debt for 2013 road projects.

This year, the city will spend $3.2 million on road infrastructure, including $750,000 issued in bonds.

City Administrator Timothy Boland said 2012 "represents the largest single investment in roadway infrastructure in the city's history."

The 2012 road repairs include: Kylemore Drive at Taylor Glen Boulevard; Laurel Lane; High Street at Cedar and Front streets; Havens Corners Road; McIntosh Road; Bristol Drive; Depot Street; Linda Avenue; Third Avenue; North End Drive; Washington Street; Lincoln Street; First Avenue; Wood Street; John Reese Parkway at Township Road; and Rich Street.

The city's 2011 Roadway Asset Management Plan identified an estimated $17 million in local road repairs. About $14 million worth of projects remain in the RAMP after this year's work.

At the Sept. 17 City Council meeting, Boland suggested the city complete another round of road projects by issuing $1.5 million in bonds in 2013.

Public Service Director BJ King said the city needs to commit $720,000 to pave Broad Street as part of a state project.

The other $780,000 would be used to pave Mill Street and other streets yet to be announced.

King said when City Council determines how much funding to spend on road improvements, city staff members will determine which streets need work.

The ordinance to issue $1.5 million in debt had some Council members reeling.

Councilman Bernard Brush said if the city keeps issuing debt, "We're going to come to a point where we can't afford it."

Councilman Mike Fox also expressed some concerns, questioning if the city can continue to pay off debt while adequately funding the police department and providing city services.

Councilman Bryan Lenzo said City Council already has debated the issue and it determined, with the RAMP, that the city needs to spend more money on roads.

He said the infrastructure has been neglected and he's positive about moving forward and improving more roads.

In his staff report to council, Boland said: "My rationale for this is that I believe we should keep the momentum going based on what we are achieving in 2012, borrowing costs remain at historically low levels and we have the debt capacity to absorb these projects."

Before an income tax measure was approved by voters in 2010, the city relied on grants to fund road projects, he said.

"When you have 300 lane miles of roads, you cannot rely on grants as your primary strategic activity as far as improving your roadways," Boland said.

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