City Council Discusses Street Maintenance Fund

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)– City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday, June 22nd, to discuss adding a $10,000,000 street maintenance fund.

According to James Childers, this discussion has been up in the air for more than one year.

“If you watch the meetings or attend them, you can look back and see us bringing up the topic.” Said Childers.

The City has never had a fund strictly for maintaining the roads, so Childers says that informing the public on the topic is his main concern.

“We want to inform the voters on what may be on their ballots and answer any questions that they may have.”

According to Childers, both residential customers would pay $9 a month, which would be added to their utility bill.  Commercial customers would pay a monthly fee ranging anywhere from $30 to $300, depending on square footage.

“Revenues generated from that fee would go strictly to street maintenance.”

Both the residential and commercial fees would generate approximately $8,000,000 a year so where will the other $2,000,000 come from?

A local sales tax option brings in nearly $2.5 million.

“There is a consideration of reducing 1/8 of a penny allocated for 4A to be dedicated for street maintenance.”

Childers told KRBC that the $10.3 million will allow the City to extend the life of their streets from 15-20 years, to 30 years plus.

But a few residents were not happy to hear that an additional amount would be added to their bills.

“I don’t like it, I don’t like it at all.” Explained Kate Chamberlin, an Abilene Resident.

Childers says, “we’re taking people’s pocket books in consideration and all our job to do is present options.”

But Chamberlin thinks that patching up the roads won’t be enough.

“Each family in Abilene, each household, that’s a lot of money, and everytime they try to fix it, the pot holes just get bigger.” Said Chamberlin.

Other residents, like Angela Lopez, believes it would be a great addition.

“I think keeping up the roads is great, and $9 doesn’t bother me.” Said Lopez.

Childers told KRBC that they understand that asking for money may upset some people but they have researched and taken account for the tax payers pocketbooks.

“We understand that some people will say that we just spent $45 million on the Bond, but this fund would help extend the life of the roads.” Said Childers.

Whether or not they will decide if it is on the ballot this coming November is up to the council.

“Our council has given some indications that they would like to put it before the voters on the ballot to make a decision if this is something we want to do or not.”

The City has until August 10th to decide if they will proceed with the fund on the ballot.

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