Let's talk roads in American Fork, (or in your community) an essential service of a all cities and towns. Roads present challenges financially and logistically. Building new roads and maintaining existing roads is one of the continuing top priorities of the American Fork City Council and staff. There is a difference between Main Street improvements and other streets. Main/State Street is a state highway maintained by state funds. Lets review some road issues:
The regular funds the City receives from the State thru gasoline tax is approximately $700-800,000 annually.
Two years ago the Council passed a property tax increase that added $500,000 for additional road maintainance.
The maintainance funds have to cover repair, crack seal, microseal, etc on existing roads. In addition, the cost of snow removal in the winter comes from these funds.
Periodically we receive grants for road improvements such as the Federal Grant for 50 South between 700 East and 1100 East which includes traffic semiphores at 700 and 1100 East. We also received a Grant from MAG (Mountainland Association of Governments) for 900 West from State Street to 1120 North. (Recently Utah County traded us those funds for Geneva Road, enabling us to start the 900 West project in April 2012 instead of 2013-2014). I believe the amount of the Grant for 50 South is over $1,000,000 and for 900 West $3,500,000.
As we all drive the city streets, we see that there is inadequate funding to cover more than the main arteries. There are some subdivisions that are 40-50 years old that have not had any maintainance since original asphalt was placed. Some or most are so bad they will have to be ground up and replaced at a cost estimated at $2-4 per square foot. When we were evaluating the secondary irrigation system, we asked Horrocks to estimate the cost of restoring the whole streets instead of just the width of the pipe trenching. Horrocks estimated that it would add $20 to 30 million to the cost. Since then asphalt prices have increased substantially. Current estimates from our Engineering Department are from $40-100 million to make the necessary restorations.
As we consider budgeting funds for such an undertaking, we look at the maturities of our Bonds to see how we can cover such needs. We have and continue to plan and budget for long term needs for essential services. Roads are one of the top priorities of this Council and the new Council to be installed in January. ~ Shirl (Special thanks to Council Member Dale Gunther for contributing)