Road Funding Options
The City is looking into its existing Pavement Management Plan (PMP); specifically, how Ramsey’s roads are funded and if the current funding method is sustainable. Currently, the City assesses benefiting property owners 25 percent of the total project cost and the remaining 75 percent is funded through the tax levy. After taking a closer look, it was determined that our current method could not keep up with the need to construct and repair Ramsey’s 178 miles of roadway.
Council Considers Pavement Management Program
City streets require continuous long-term care and maintenance. The older the street, the more the maintenance expense, and it is much cheaper to regularly repair a street than to reconstruct it later. The City has been working to implement a Pavement Management Program that would ensure that timely investments are made to protect our streets.
Consider the chart below that shows that spending $1 on streets newer than 15 years-old, can save $6-$14 on rehabilitation or reconstruction down the line. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find the dollars for preventive maintenance that includes filling cracks and holes, and periodically overlaying streets with new asphalt in order to protect the underlying pavement. In addition, many older local streets were constructed with thinner pavement sections that cannot be effectively maintained and must instead be reconstruct to today’s standards to allow for future preventive maintenance. A properly constructed and maintained street can last up to 60 years.
Over the past several years, the City has sought to identify a stable sustainable funding source for the maintenance and repair of streets. Over the past five years, the City has used a combination of General Fund tax revenue, bonding, and special assessments for street maintenance and improvements. The City Council is now having a community discussion of a monthly fee to fund the Pavement Management Program. This fee would be passed along to property owners via a franchise fee on electric and gas utilities. Franchise fees would be fully devoted to local street maintenance repair and reconstruction across the City.
The City is proposing a franchise fee Ordinance that will impose a monthly fee for street maintenance. Through the input received from the community, the Council will seek to determine whether property owners prefer this monthly fee, lump sum assessments, or property taxes to fix and maintain roads. Regardless, local street maintenance is too important of an issue to ignore.
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