Riverside fine-tunes road paving plan before levy vote

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

The city will host an online discussion to answer questions about the roads levy

As Riverside attempts for the third time in three years to pass a property tax levy on the November ballot to fund road paving, the city is considering changing its recently released 10-year street paving plan.

Riverside City Council gave City Manager Mark Carpenter and Public Service Director Kathy Bartlett the green light at a work session meeting Thursday evening to commission a new plan with Pavement Management Group.

Any plan the city makes will be contingent on the roads levy passing this November. The city is asking voters to consider a 5-mill, 5-year property tax levy for the repair and repaving of residential roads only. The Montgomery County Auditor’s office estimates that the levy would generate about $1.2 million a year, or about $6 million over the five-year life of the levy.

According to the auditor’s office, if the levy were to pass, the owner of a house valued at $100,000 in Riverside would pay an additional $175 a year in property taxes for five years.

ExploreRiverside will seek road levy for third time

“We continue to focus on doing as many streets as we can with the amount of money that we have,” Carpenter said.

According to the city website, in 2020, it would cost approximately $18 million to pave the 174 streets needed paved now, not including curb, drive or sidewalk repair. Bartlett said each year the cost goes up due to inflation and road conditions decline.

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

The plan that was released about two weeks ago and is currently posted on the city’s website would pave residential streets each year by plat, or neighborhood, beginning with the plats with the worst pavement conditions. This was met with criticism on Facebook because some of the worst streets wouldn’t be paved first. Now, the city is commissioning a plan that would prioritize clusters of streets that are smaller than the 23 named plats in Riverside.

Bartlett said repaving multiple streets in the same area saves money because paving companies charge about $5,000 for each set-up.

Carpenter said revising the city’s plan is not a reaction to public opinion but a reaction to new information. After previously telling the city it would replace water lines in the city by plat, the Montgomery County Water Services Department told the city that after it does the Lynnhaven plat next year it will no longer work on entire plats at once.

The city wants to partner with the water department for two money-saving reasons, said Carpenter. The city wants to coordinate so it’s redoing streets after the water department tears them up and not repaving streets twice. Secondly, the city is not able to apply for grant money to repair residential streets but the water department is able to apply for Ohio Public Work funding. Those funds could be shared with the city to use on paving streets the water department tears up.

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

Additionally, the city received bids to repave the Lynnhaven plat last week and the total cost, about $4.5 million, was about three times greater than expected, said Bartlett. Carpenter and Bartlett said this could mean repaving the city’s streets could cost much more than anticipated.

All of this new information has led the city to reconsider its plan, said Carpenter.

“We want to stick with the plan as best we can so we want to deliver a plan that we can follow,” he said

City council members on Thursday expressed a desire to be transparent with citizens and to help them understand the cost of infrastructure. The city will host a virtual discussion about the streets tax levy on Zoom on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. More details can be found at riversideoh.gov. Hopefully the new plan will be completed by then, said Carpenter.

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