Tax talk highlights street problems

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Discussions of a proposed gas tax have highlighted what city officials consider the poor condition of many city streets.

According to an executive report issued to the City Council, 7.9 percent of city streets were rated “poor” as of May 2014, while an additional 1.6 percent were rated “very poor” and 0.2 percent were rated “failing.”

“It’s not a situation where the city is saying some of our streets just aren’t the best. That’s not what we’re saying,” said assistant city manager Billy Tyus. “What we are saying is that there are significant portions of our roadways that are not in good shape and that need work.”

The executive report points out that the price of asphalt doubled between 2005 and 2013, while the amount of revenue dedicated to repairing roads has decreased.

“Over the last number of years, revenues have been stagnant, and roads continue to deteriorate,” Tyus said.

Jim Calhoun, who owns a lawn care business, said the poor condition of some city streets has left wear and tear on his work truck and trailer.

“Every day that I’m out pulling the trailer or pushing snow or tilling gardens and hauling rock, it puts wear and tear on your vehicle,” Calhoun said. “I think the conditions of our roads have deteriorated so much over the past five years, they haven’t kept up with the demand.”

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