Street repair and maintenance is costly and time-consuming, but it’s something that if left unattended can cause significant problems that extend to liability issues, according to city officials.
Recently, a good portion of El Centro Street was shut down to traffic because of a massive upgrade that was long overdue, according to the city. Motorists trying to use the thoroughfare that day were heard to complain about the inconvenience.
However, the repairs started early in the morning and the majority of the work was completed that same day. More than a dozen men and machines were used to remove the top layer of the street, smooth it out and lay down a new pristine patch of roadwork.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw these huge machines putting down the material,” said one bystander, who echoed what most everyone said that gathered around to watch the spectacle. “I was irritated at first but then when I came back later, they were done. Or it sure looked like it. In any event, the street was back open and that’s all I cared about.”
The city’s budget for street repairs and maintenance is about $1.4 million annually, according to city reports. City officials acknowledged it’s an ongoing challenge keeping the streets and roadways repaired with the ongoing budget constraints.
However, that could become an even bigger challenge if voters repeal the Utility Users Tax in November. The UUT represents about 12 percent or $3.4 million of the city’s budget. If the UUT is repealed that would force the city to cut about $1 million from the street repair and maintenance program, which is about 70 percent of the program. The measure is on the Nov. 6 ballot.