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City: Street maintenance funds must accumulate before being spent

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - At the start of the new year, a new line was added to Abilene water bills: the street maintenance fee.

That fund is growing, but the city hasn't tapped into it just yet.

Abilene's approach to roadwork is simple enough, they need to fill the bucket before they can empty it. The bucket is the street maintenance fund.

"According to state law, we cannot spend money that we do not have, and we're going to cash-finance this as opposed to debt-financing that," Abilene Assistant City Manager Michael Rice says. "So what that means is, we have to wait for those bank accounts to grow before we're actually able to spend money on those projects."

And the fee itself isn't exactly a done deal either. It's still changing, as changes were made in the last city council meeting.

"We are listening to the public, and we are trying to, once again, tweak this as we move forward. It is in its infancy. We do appreciate the patience of the public, but we are trying to move forward, once again, to address those to the best of our ability," Rice says.

By the end of this year, the goal is for more than $5 million to come from the fee.

The city is planning on making a do-over on Ridgemont Drive the first project, which could start as soon as this summer.

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