Trustees listen to residents; streets to be repaved
The Violet Township trustees changed course Oct. 16, and unanimously voted to approve a resolution that will allow for repaving of streets in the New England Acres and Sturbridge Meadows subdivisions.
Residents from the subdivisions previously appeared at the Oct. 2 trustees meeting to voice displeasure with the township's decision to pave their streets using a "chip seal" paving method.
Chip seal is liquid asphalt covered with small stone, sealed with what is referred to as a "fog seal."
It is significantly less expensive, about 31/2 less than the cost of conventional hot-mix asphalt, according to Township Engineer Greg Butcher.
Township officials stated chip seal methods are a necessary tool in a time reduced funding to local governments.
According to Butcher, while the township's annual budget for paving maintenance has stagnated, asphalt costs have risen considerably.
The residents of the two subdivisions argued chip seal shouldn't have been applied on residential streets in September.
They cited the chip seal's rough texture, loose gravel and exposed tar as evidence of its substandard quality and voiced safety concerns as well.
"The residents of those neighborhoods felt that we shouldn't have done (chip seal)," said Harry Myers Jr., a Violet Township trustee.
"We concurred that we probably shouldn't have done that," he said.
Myers said the trustees' motives in doing so were sincere in that it came down to simply attempting to preserve a severely strained road budget.
"The only reason we did (chip seal) was so we could get more mileage out of our paving budget, which has been drastically cut," Myers said. "We're just trying to do the most we can with the least."
Butcher said to pave with chip seal in New England Acres and Sturbridge Meadows cost $46,000. Implementing conventional technologies will now cost the township almost five times that figure.
The trustees authorized a $200,000 expenditure to repave the affected neighborhoods with conventional asphalt Oct. 16.
John Thompson, treasurer/secretary of the Sturbridge Meadows Homeowners Association, said the trustees did the right thing.
"We heard what we needed to hear," Thompson said.
"We came (to the meeting) loaded for bear," he said.
"We were prepared to let other subdivisions like Fox Run, Summerfield and Huntington Hills know that this (chip seal) process could enter into their subdivisions as the norm if we didn't get this turned around."
Myers said part of the money to fix the issue will come out of the 2014 paving budget.
"It will make things short for next year," he said.
Weather permitting, crews from paving contractor Shelly Co. might be able to repave the affected streets this fall, Myers said.
Thompson said the chip seal issue indicates the need for the township to put its own road levy on the ballot in the future, especially with a paving budget capped at $500,000 for 105 miles of roadways.
"We realize this is about money," Thompson said.
"If the township is that short on the budget, it needs to put a road levy on and keep trying until it gets it passed," he said.
"People are going to realize we may have to pay a little extra for services," Thompson said. "Things are tight."