City may borrow $1.6 million for Old County Road

By Daniel Dunkle | Apr 04, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham

Rockland — City officials may ask voters in June to approve a $1.6 million bond to pay for repairs to Old County Road.

The road is in dire need of repair due to potholes and frost heaves. Fixing it may mean a municipal partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation.

The City Council is expected to discuss the issue Monday night, April 7, at its agenda-setting meeting. Transportation department engineers will be in attendance.

According to an estimate from Gartley & Dorsky Engineering & Surveying, the cost of repairing the road could total $2.3 million.

The state's position is that the city, rather than the state, is responsible for repairs and improvements to the road, and has been since it was put in what is called an urban compact zone.

As part of the proposed partnership, the state contributes to the repairs, but caps its contribution at 50 percent or less, up to $500,000 per year. Still, the city hopes the state will be able to contribute more to the project, City Manager Thomas Luttrell said April 4.

The council will decide whether to ask voters for a bond of up to $1.6 million, which would be put on the June ballot. If the council goes forward with that plan, a public hearing will be held on the issue, possibly on Wednesday, April 23.

"For over a year city and MDOT staff have been meeting and talking off and on in an attempt to find a path forward to make essential repairs to Old County Road," Mayor Larry Pritchett said in an email. "The current badly failing condition of the road is a major concern to all members of council and many residents in the area. A variety of ideas have been considered."

Pritchett said the bond is only a proposal, and the concept has never been discussed at the council level before.

"This concept may well evolve over the next few weeks."

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com or 594-4401 ext. 122.

Comments (21)
Posted by: Cynthia McGuirl | Apr 17, 2014 07:29

The problem is Governor LePage not releasing money (bonds) that the citizens of Maine have voted to spend on road repairs. Do NOT vote for LePage in November if you want decent roads.



Posted by: paula sutton | Apr 08, 2014 07:02

I feel it worthy to mention that although we pay .50 per gallon gas tax that money does not come back directly to the roads as it should.  When the funds are co mingled with other State Revenue sources it becomes hard to determine where it does go.  The funds spent on education and Department of health and human services accounts for roughly %80 of states entire budget.  This is not sustainable as evidenced by our current roads conditions.  We must work with our elected officials to find savings and economies to ensure our States Budget be allocated in such a way that leaves more for agencies who are being squeezed out.

 



Posted by: paula sutton | Apr 08, 2014 07:02

I feel it worthy to mention that although we pay .50 per gallon gas tax that money does not come back directly to the roads as it should.  When the funds are co mingled with other State Revenue sources it becomes hard to determine where it does go.  The funds spent on education and Department of health and human services accounts for roughly %80 of states entire budget.  This is not sustainable as evidenced by our current roads conditions.  We must work with our elected officials to find savings and economies to ensure our States Budget be allocated in such a way that leaves more for agencies who are being squeezed out.

 



Posted by: Linda Falkenmeyer | Apr 07, 2014 19:26

Ok so people have complained about this road and they have a right to complain it is horrible ...but is a state road. They should be paying. The Rockland taxpayers have far to much on there plate already..Enough already...Many are getting taxed out of their homes for pass mistakes made by city government and  the school board...

 

 



Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Apr 07, 2014 18:02

Maine DOT is responsible for repairing it. When the woman who died going into the quarry due to icy roads happened the State was going to redo the road. When the road caved in near the golf course the State was responsible. Many who travel the road daily use it as a convenience to bypass Rockland and the traffic. Walmart was going to spend $10 grand on it for upgrades. It is a State of Maine road to be maintained by Maine DOT.  When Maine DOT asked Rockland to help overhaul the train engines for Maine Eastern RR there was a resounding "NO"!  Our taxes are nearly at the 20 mil rate, our landfill needs to be closed, sewer plant upgraded and then this RSU debacle and resulting bills. School buses use Old County Rd. Routinely. Children are at risk! And do not forget Dragon has pounded that road for decades. There will be a disaster on this road but Rockland needs to be adamant, Maine DOT repairs it or access will be limited. No trucks should pass on it. Our escalating debt to needs ratio will need all the bond money for public works, Harbor Park, a Downtown, wages, insurance for employes, and the long list we keep reading in the news.  Maine DOT had had large bonds in the last decade. They use it for rail, roads, airports and ferry terminals. Little has gone to roads in Knox County. The airport, rail and work at Knox County area ferry terminals have seen the bulk of the funding.

 



Posted by: betty anne mccommic | Apr 07, 2014 13:40

Not repairing a road because 'Honestly, I don't even drive on it' is just ridiculous. Rockland is a broad town, and Old County Road is a staple for transportation. Not only for the people of Rockland, but for people from all over the midcoast who WORK 5 days a week in your town. The real question that should be posed, is why was this road allowed to become this wretched to begin with? Would repair costs have been lessened if preventative measured had been taken to ensure the road hadn't been TORN UP to the state that it is now? Never in my life had I ever seen this road this back. It's a direct product of a lazy government, useless personel and a bad budgeting committee.



Posted by: John H McFadden III | Apr 07, 2014 08:53

All I can say:  That is the worst road in Rockland and always has been!  At least re-blacktop it!  Or do some good patch work!

 



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Apr 06, 2014 18:12

Tourist don't get to the Farnsworth via the Old County Road so they won't be chipping in. We got the downtown all spiffed up so everything else can slide.



Posted by: Mike Morrison | Apr 06, 2014 17:26

I myself was just saying that its not walmarts fault that the road is ruined I know trucks arte needed to run the country

 



Posted by: richie osgood | Apr 06, 2014 09:44

Believe me, there is no profit for trucking local. I own a few heavy trucks and the expense is huge. If I could get 25 bucks a yard for gravel then I would be fine, but I bet there is no one here that would pay that. If I fuel up 2 trucks the bill is around $1000.00. Look at some of the local earth moving or aggregate sales companies that have been in business longer then I have been alive. A few have gone under or are just getting by.  I do not live in Rockland so I have no opinion on the bond.



Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Apr 06, 2014 08:28

Believe me these large trucks get paid pretty good to haul whatever....all there costs are factored in and if the profit is less than years past ..so what everyone's is less.....we all make less for the same job we did years ago..it is all relative, so no bleeding hearts......those guys get there money, I know I always here ..Well hauling costs are up because of fuel taxes etc....same as any business.....it costs more to do business.....

 



Posted by: Susan P Reitman | Apr 06, 2014 06:56

If the citizens of Rockland vote to pass this bond THEY NEED THEIR HEADS EXAMINED!!!!  What has the City of Rockland done with the monies allocated for road repairs gathered from the taxes they collect on the sale of gas, etc.  If this bond passes it is just another tax on the citizens of Rockland that they CANNOT AFFORD.



Posted by: richie osgood | Apr 05, 2014 23:55

I think everyone who thinks the " big trucks " don't pay their fair share of the road projects should call the town office and ask what it cost's to register one. The excise tax stays with the town where its registered.  Then next time your at the pumps look at the road use tax listed on the diesel pump. Its like 55 cents per gallon and at 4 to 6 miles per gallon it costs 15 cents of "tax" just to drive one mile. What's the average miles driven per year on trucks driven every day? maybe 25 thousand for local trucks and over a hundred thousand for over the road trucks. Some much more then that. So your at $750 to over $3,000 bucks for just fuel tax. What does all the tax for fuel go to, well most ( 88% ) of the fed portion goes to road maintenance. Some (around 10%) to mass transit. The state's portion is about 66% for road maintenance. Then on top of that any truck over 54,000 pounds gets to pay the IRS a " heavy use tax " Then every truck must pay for a " fuel sticker " to stick on the door. Heavy trucks pay a lot.



Posted by: THIMOTHY & JENNIFER REYNOLDS | Apr 05, 2014 22:53

I love how everybody blames it on the big trucks for wrecking their prescious roads,personally I think if you people think that taking the trucks of the roads will solve everything than by all means go ahead, have fun buying things at the grocery stores wal mart for example, lets reroute all the big trucks around everything so nobody will have to see them we can all pretend they are like the tooth fairy or the easterbunny and things just magically apeer on the shelves at the stores or gas at your local gas station,rerouting all those trucks makes for a longer day for the drivers that already have long enough days as it is, moral of the rant drive a mile in the truck drivers shoes before you start complaining about your selfish needs.

 



Posted by: Mike Morrison | Apr 05, 2014 17:53

I travel it and haven't seen a Wal-Mart trucks yet but I do see a lot of  h.o. buchards trucks out of Hamden I believe headed to and from the cement plant

 



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Apr 05, 2014 14:15

I agree with you Jim. With all the heavy 18 wheelers pounding the road it is a wonder we all don't land in the quarry! I think it would be good to reroute trucks from route 1 through route 90 and back up route one. That way only light trucks and cars would not pound the pavement so much and may preserve our car springs. I have never seen Old County Road in such dire condition. When an 18 wheeler passes me I squeeze to the other side and hold my breath. Kudos to Rockland taxpayers for paying so much tax money to keep it in such good shape for cars. They should not have to pay more for 18 wheelers which trash it as soon as it is repaired. Just my opinion!

Mickey McKeever



Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Apr 05, 2014 10:24

I don't believe Rockland residents want there property tax to increase to redo this bypass. I for one rarely use Old County road and drove it the other day, it really is not that bad compared to some streets in Rockland...We should have  ( easy pass camera's) then the large trucks that are the cause of the declining road pay for there use and the money used to maintain this revolving door....



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 05, 2014 09:25

If the state does not want to pay than block the road from being a through street.Old County is a bypass for thru traffic (especially heavy trucks) which pound the hell out of the road.  If you re-pave and continue to allow trucks and thru traffic, in three years it will back in the same condition.  Place a barrier at the end of Talbot ave. and make the road available to LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY



Posted by: Norman D Carver | Apr 05, 2014 09:14

will this road have to be repaired by the same taxpayers  that voted not to allow the super Walmart to be built in Rockland?  Unintended consequences of not thinking about reality. Now bite the bullet and fix that road Rockland so I can get to Walmart just over the town line ( and TAx line) without wrecking my vehicle!!!!!

 



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Apr 04, 2014 19:44

Once Rockland pays for the repairs it will be ours to pay for from now on. NO!!! There are too many other needs before us to even think of bailing the state out from their duty. It's the state's road, let them close it or signage it to 20MPH or whatever they need to do. With the Main Street TIFs and all of the non-profits, we who do pay taxes can not dig any deeper.



Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Apr 04, 2014 17:17

Interested to see if any of Rockland's not-for-profit are willing to pitch in . . .



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Dan Dunkle
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.

Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.

 

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