Bexley service director Bill Harvey wants to borrow $3-million to fix additional city streets this year.

Bexley service director Bill Harvey wants to borrow $3-million to fix additional city streets this year.

Harvey asked Bexley City Council's finance committee Jan. 26 to approve a plan allowing him to borrow $1.8-million in the short term to fix eight or nine streets; he plans to ask for the rest of the money later. He pointed out council approved $3-million for street repairs in this year's capital improvements budget.

"I'm planning to go ahead with it unless you tell me otherwise," he said.

Harvey also noted that council approved borrowing $3-million for street repairs in 2009.

Council member Ben Kessler asked how much money the city was spending per year to service the debt on the $3-million that was borrowed. Harvey said the city spends about $60,000 per year to service the debt on every $1-million that it borrows.

Kessler said he wasn't comfortable borrowing another $3-million, especially since the city is spending more money than it is bringing in.

"It dips into our future ability to handle roads," he said. "I would prefer to see the money spent as we have the funds."

Kessler also suggested having a five-year budget forecast. Once the city runs out of street levy money, it will have to turn to the general fund, he said.

City auditor Gary Qualmann said Bexley receives about $862,000 in taxes a year through the street levy.

Council member Rick Weber asked how many street improvements the city could make for $400,000 a year. Harvey said it costs about $150,000 to repair a street and the life expectancy for street repairs is about 10 years, but as long as 20 years on some streets.

Council member Richard Sharp said several years ago, infrastructure decline was residents' No. 1 complaint.

"I think it is worth getting a jump start on," he said.

It makes sense to fund road improvement projects at today's dollars with a decent interest rate, said council member Jed Morison.

If the city borrows $3-million this year and in each of the next two, there would be no money coming in from the street levy within two years, council member Matt Lampke said. If the city continues to chip away at the levy, all funds will be exhausted by debt service, he said.

Weber asked what percentage of the streets will be repaired if the city borrows another $3-million this year. Harvey said about 50 percent of the streets will have been repaired, but there will always be streets that need to be fixed.

"Most of the core streets will be fixed," Harvey said.

Mayor John Brennan said he favored borrowing the $3-million for repairs. "We are never going to get to the point where all of our streets are good," he said.

Council member Mark Masser was concerned about which streets would be fixed and encouraged the service department to wait until after winter to make a decision.

Lampke said he would like to see the list of streets the service department was interested in fixing. Kessler suggested the service department bring back a proposed list for repairs to the Feb. 9 council meeting.