Powell Mayor Richard Cline says "something must be done" to generate more revenue to help the city keep up with road maintenance efforts.

Powell Mayor Richard Cline says "something must be done" to generate more revenue to help the city keep up with road maintenance efforts.

A presentation given by City Engineer Robert Rice during the April 17 meeting of Powell City Council indicated the overall condition of city roads has dropped slightly from last year's assessment.

The annual report detailed plans to spend about $481,800 on road repairs this year, including paving, crack sealing and curb replacement.

In a recent survey, Powell roadways earned an overall score of 84 out of 100 – solidly in the "good" range, but falling just short of last year's average score of 85.

But roughly 31 percent of Powell roads were rated "fair" by the public service department this year, receiving a score below 80. Last year, just 22 percent of streets were rated "fair."

Rice said the city's budget for road repairs has been flat for about four years.

"We're struggling," he said. 'We're not even really treading water right now."

Roads that received a rating of "fair" or worse in the new assessment will be the focus for repairs this year, including the fewer than 2 percent of Powell roads rated "poor."

Streets that dip below a rating of 80 may have a significant number of cracks and often prompt complaints from residents, Rice said.

He said the public service department would need an extra $1 million to keep all roadways in good condition over the next decade.

That money could become available if voters approve a bond issue that City Council currently is considering for the November ballot.

The proposed issue would generate about $7 million over 10 years, and roughly $1 million would be earmarked for street maintenance, according to city Public Information Officer Jeff Robinson.

In 2010, voters rejected a ballot issue that would have raised the city's income tax and generated new revenue for capital improvements.

For now, Cline said he's worried that the percentage of streets rated "fair" or poorer – about 19 miles of the city's 58.2 miles of roads – could continue to rise.

"I can see a cliff coming," Cline said. "We have to find some money to do these road repairs."

Officials will seek bids for 2012 construction work starting in mid-May. Construction will begin in mid-June and could be completed by late August.

Rice said the city may have to consider cheaper materials and repair methods to stretch funding dollars further in the next few years.

But not all the focus is going to the city's worst roadways. Some money also is slated to maintain roads rated "good."

Councilman Jim Hrivnak said allocating funds to maintain those streets is the right approach.

"We're keeping the good ones good and trying to move the other ones up," he said. "That's a good way to spend our money."