City manager: Not enough revenue to fix streets in Xenia

Many streets in the city of Xenia are in a state of disrepair, and while city officials estimate the cost to fix those streets are in the tens of millions of dollars, less than a million is dedicated annually for resurfacing and street maintenance projects.

Residents, like Joshua Knox, want to see more done to improve the thoroughfares and neighborhood byways.

“It’s been like this since the last snowfall,” Knox said of the pockmarked conditions on Colorado Drive. “It just keeps getting worse and worse … Even when they do patch it, it’s just as bad.”

In Xenia, street maintenance and repair gets about 45 percent of the general capital fund, which translates to about $500,000 a year. Other sources of revenue through excise and gas taxes generate an additional $300,000 annually, according to City Manager Brent Merriman.

City records show since 2011, the city has spent nearly $6 million to resurface about 71 miles in different parts of the city. The streets are rated for condition and prioritized accordingly. Merriman said Colorado Drive is high on that list, but to repave it from Upper to Lower Bellbrook roads would cost an estimated $1.1 million.

“They are raising legitimate frustrations,” Merriman said of residents’ complaints about the conditions of the streets. “We do have some roadways that are in some pretty rough states of disrepair that we need to find a way to fix.”

Merriman estimates it’s a $30 million problem, and the city doesn’t have nearly enough revenue to adequately address it.

“The situation is complex because it’s not just about putting a new course of asphalt down,” he said. “In many cases we want to make sure the water and sewer are updated underneath so that we don’t want to dig up for a broken water main roadways that were just repaved.”

In addition, Merriman said you also need to make sure the curbing is in good shape and repair stormwater catch basins for any street resurfacing project.

“There are a number of layers of concerns that we need to deal with and juggle in conjunction with the issue of which roadways can be repaved,” Merriman said. “At the end of the day, this really boils down to a resource issue. With the nature and scope of the problem that we have related to road conditions, we have insufficient resources today to make a major investment that would see wide-scale repaving.”

City Council is expected to discuss options for funding streets. Merriman said those options include borrowing money or asking voters to pass a new tax dedicated to street maintenance.

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