Silverton’s proposed $.02 gas tax

November 2017 Posted in Community

Our streets desperately need your help!

For decades, our 30-plus miles of roadway in Silverton have slowly deteriorated and our traffic congestion problems have increased. Why has this happened? The City of Silverton has been unable to generate sufficient funds to fix these problems.

For the past several years the City has spent approximately $175,000 per year on roadway preventative maintenance which includes crack seals, slurry seals and overlays. A pavement management report done for the City of Silverton in 2012 showed that in order to obtain an optimum level of pavement condition, we need to be spending $550,000 per year on street maintenance and repairs. The City has fallen way short of this amount and our streets have continued to deteriorate.

Our streets are like your car. If you follow the recommended maintenance schedule, your car should have many years of trouble free life. If you don’t maintain your car, it will have more costly repairs and a much shorter life. Our street system is the same. Because we have waited too long to perform the necessary maintenance, we now have to catch-up and pay even more to repair our streets. The longer we wait to make the much needed repairs, the worse the road conditions will become and the more it will cost.

In addition to road maintenance, the City’s Capital Improvement Program has a backlog of street reconstruction projects in excess of $5.5 million. This doesn’t even include traffic improvements necessary to address the traffic congestion and safety problems we are currently experiencing, due to our continued growth.

Presently, there isn’t sufficient funding to ensure we have a reliable and well-maintained roadway system. This is where YOU can help. On the November ballot there is a $0.02 per gallon fuel tax proposed for Silverton. This tax would raise approximately $175,000 per year – equal to what the city is currently spending on their preventative maintenance program. All revenue generated by the fuel tax can only be used for roadway projects such as construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, and operation.

The proposed fuel tax will not solve all our problems, but it will help. It will also provide a means to recover some funds from tourists and motorists who live outside of Silverton, but are using our streets.

By now you should have your ballot in hand. If you are concerned about our roadways and want to see improvements as I do, I urge you to vote “YES” on Measure 24-422.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jim Sears
Silverton Councilor

“In the most recent edition of Our Town Kyle Palmer advocates approval of the gas tax in order “to double the (street) slurry program.”

However, he somehow neglected to mention some important things. One, several street segments previously treated within the recent past have already developed numerous cracks. For example, just check out the area on Mill Street between B and Oak. On Third Street between Oak and Main no less than six horizontal cracks extending across the entirety of the street have formed. Then course farther south on Mill and also evident is the breakdown of the slurry product.

I’ve been in direct contact with a very responsive city councilor. Remaining though are questions posed but not yet answered. Did the contract for the work agreed to by the city contain temporal performance or warranty clauses? And if not, why not? Will the enterprise responsible for the evidently defective work be required to redo gratis and any and all previously treated street surfaces which have prematurely developed those cracks?

So pass the gas tax given the present circumstances? I think not.”

Greg Marlowe

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