Almost 10 years since the initial paving, roadway conditions in the City of Laurie have begun deteriorating and depressions, cracks and potholes mar several spots along the eight miles of city streets. With citizen complaints earlier in the year about potholes, depressions and cracks marring several spots on city streets, the Laurie Board of Aldermen has been looking at what it can do with a limited budget to make improvements.
While the fund does not have money to repair all bad places or do maintenance on all streets, the board decided to stretch an unspent $15,000 in the fund to do some of the worst spots, Public Works Director Ed Young said. APAC has repaired two bad spots at Osage Ave. and Indian Lake Ave. at the entrance to Indian Rock Golf Course and a large deficiency on Fairgrounds Drive. The company also crack sealed several lineal feet on Lake Trail Rd. and Laurie Heights Drive. The estimate for the work was just over $15,000, according to Young, but the final bill has not yet been submitted to the city.
Why is it happening?
According to Young, the asphalt was placed properly, but some of the old gravel roads underneath were not up to specifications needed for pavement. Drainage is also an issue for many city streets. Over time, water is getting under the asphalt and contributing to potholes. The city pays for street improvements and upkeep through a 1/2-cent transportation sales tax that currently generates around $180,000. A majority of that revenue now goes to payments on bonds that paid for the initial paving of city streets. In the 2013 street budget, $147,000 was budgeted for principal and interest payments on the bonds. In comparison, $10,000 was budgeted for labor and $7,500 for materials which also includes salt and pea gravel for snow and ice removal. In 2013, money was also taken out of the city street fund to buy a new police car. The little that remains in the street maintenance fund each year has been utilized to do small patch jobs. A crack seal was done in 2012 on fissures.
Aldermen have said they would consider ways to address street maintenance in the 2014 budget. The 10th and last year of payment on the $1.3 million street paving bond issue, however, is scheduled in 2014. Until it is paid off, street maintenance funds will likely continue to be limited, but beginning in 2015, the transportation sales tax will give the city more funds to address street issues. Planning for the 2014 budget will begin with a work session at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4 at Laurie City Hall.