Riverside streets levy appears to fail

ajc.com

A Riverside road levy request appears to have failed for the third time in three years, losing by a mere 196 votes in Tuesday’s election, according to final unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The unofficial results show 5,023 votes, or about 51%, were cast against the levy and 4,827 votes, or 49%, were cast for the levy. The vote will be certified later this month and results could change.

Riverside city manager Mark Carpenter said residential streets would not be paved next year if the levy fails because there’s no room in the city’s budget for additional work.

Instead, money will go toward repairs on the Harshman Road traffic divider wall, he said. The city says the wall has deteriorated and the repairs are necessary for the safety of drivers and to maintain the integrity of the wall.

Carpenter said he anticipated a close race this election for the levy since voter turnout was high.

The five-year, 5-mill levy would have generated about $1.2 million per year, or about $6 million over the five-year life of the levy.

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

Carpenter said the city has managed to put about about a million dollars worth of work into the city roads in the past year.

"We will continue to do as much work as we can, for how much money we have available,” Carpenter said.

ExploreRiverside proposing road levy for third time in three years

The city asked voters to consider an 8-mill permanent levy in 2018 and 2019. Both times that proposal was voted down. Residents told public officials they wanted a shorter, less costly levy after those two ballot initiatives failed.

The levy money would have been used to repair neighborhood streets beginning with the lowest overall pavement condition index. According to the city, 174 Streets or about 57% of the streets in the city, have a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) rating of 55 or below, meaning they need paved now.

In 2020, the cost to repair those roads would total about $18 million to pave all of the roads that need repaired now, the city said.

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