ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When Abilene residents voted in favor of a Street Maintenance fee in 2018, a mandatory review date was set. The Street Maintenance Fee Advisory Board was set to meet on the fourth anniversary of the ordinance’s June 14, 2018 enactment.

“[Essentially] to decide whether the program has been a good program or not, and or to increase or reduce the fee,” said Abilene Assistant City Manager Michael Rice.

The advisory board will meet Thursday, June 16 at the Abilene Public Library Main Branch to do just that. Members will also present their recommendations to Abilene City Council, which will have final say in what action is taken.

“The council can extend it, the council can basically cause it to end,” Rice explained. “They have a lot of options in front of them.”

It is likely that the board and Council will recommend the continuation of the ordinance, and may move to increase the fee- according to a statement by City Manager Robert Hanna:

“Staff is recommending a street maintenance fee increase to the Street Maintenance Board, as this was an outcome from the Council Retreat. Specifically, Council directed staff to continue with pay-go financing for our street maintenance efforts. The Street Maintenance Board will hear this and make any comments they feel are appropriate. Fee increases are set by the Council during the budget process, and I would anticipate this would be one of the items Council takes up during the FY 2023 discussion in July.”

-Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna

The increase comes as unwelcomed news to some residents like Don Powell, who voted in favor of the fee back in 2018.

“I don’t think it’s worth an increase and certainly not worth it if they’re not going to take care of the other areas,” Powell said.

The ‘other areas’ Powell is referring to are the streets mostly on the north side that some residents feel have not received the attention they should have with the funds accrued.

“The north tends to be worse, but even in the south… Directly behind us is ninth and 10th, and it’s really bad,” Powell pointed out.

Hoping to see the generated funds concentrated in areas that have seen little attention in the past four years, Powell said he’s changed his initial opinion.

“After they were about half way done, I started noticing that it was more in the rich areas or downtown,” said Powell.

With only half of the funds initially needed to maintain current road conditions, Rice said an increase might be necessary to see roads improve.

“Instead of the $10.3 million, we were getting more like five-and-a-half to six million dollars a year,” Rice said.

The other option being the termination of the ordinance.

Rice left KTAB/KRBC with, “then we’re left with the same question, what do we do with the roads?”