City Council likely to nix road paving referendum

By Stephen Betts | Sep 05, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts More paving like this done on Main Street this past summer will likely be occurring throughout the city in subsequent years.

Rockland — Rockland residents will likely not have a referendum before them this fall asking to borrow up to $10 million for road and storm water diversion work.

City Manager Tom Luttrell recommended that instead, he will budget $300,000 to $500,000 annually to catch up and maintain roads.

The manager said that public services concluded that it will take $7.8 million to maintain the city's 57 miles of roads.

The city manager said budgeting annually would save money over borrowing.

"Thank you," said Councilor Ed Glaser.

The Rockland City Council had given initial approval Aug. 12 to placing a $10 million bond referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot. A final vote is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Luttrell recommended that the item be rejected at the Sept. 9 meeting and he will begin budgeting money each year. The next budget for 2020-2021 will be unveiled in April.

Eighteen roads were paved this year.

Those roads were paved through a $2.7 million bond referendum approved by city residents in November 2016. The ballot item was backed 2,575 to 845 by Rockland residents. The City Council, however, held off borrowing the money until last year to allow existing bonds to be paid off.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 06, 2019 09:40

I am going to say this yet again until someone notices.   If you set up a dedicated account for road maintenance with funds received through the "excise tax"  which brings in approximately one million dollars  annually this would more than cover the budget Tom has set aside.  This excise tax money was always intended for this purpose but for years the city has taken these funds and dropped them into the big black hole "the general fund".  This is just basic accounting folks.  Everyone knows they must set aside money to pay their rent or mortgage each month.  spending funds on other things eventually leeds to getting thrown out of your house.  Just common budgeting we all have to do unless you're spending someone else's money.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Sep 05, 2019 18:21

It would be nice to hear that some money was being budgeted for sidewalk repair. The sidewalk on South Main from Florence to Holmes is hard to walk on, as it is in such disrepair. What was the sidewalk on Ocean Street has been taken over by weeds and residential parking. Instead of wasting time arguing with the vocational school about a fence, the council should figure out how to make our sidewalks fit to walk on.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Sep 05, 2019 12:44

Why wasn't this deferred maintenance budgeted long before now? City council seems happy to be big spenders Rockland tax payers must pay back...

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 05, 2019 12:01

Smart idea. Now fix the potholes while it is still feasible.

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