Southington officials appear poised to move forward with a plan that would allow for $11 million in bonding to restore or rebuild roads throughout town, but before finalizing the plan, they will turn to the group that will make the ultimate decision in November: the public.
The Board of Finance will host a public hearing on June 26, asking residents and business owners in the community to voice their opinions and questions regarding the bonding plan to begin restoration of .
“The intent of the bond issue is to request funding for the first two years of a comprehensive plan to extend the life of Southington’s public roads, including $500,000 per year for routine and preventative restoration, and $4.5 million per year for structural improvements that will delay the significantly higher cost of base rehabilitation,” said Garry Brumback.
“It is very important to gather public input for a program of this magnitude.”
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Board of Finance Chairman John Leary said Wednesday said that he believes the plan in an intelligent one and addresses a need that has long been overlooked in town, but his biggest concern is making sure that the public has all the information they need to make an informed decision for themselves, one way or another.
The town first began looking into the best way to address road repair needs earlier this year after receiving , who evaluated the town’s 235 miles of road, giving each street a number between 0-100 with 100 representing a brand new road.
Using the grading system as a guide, the town then established a comprehensive 10-year plan to address immediate needs and begin extending road life. The entire plan would require $50 million over a 10-year-period to reach current day standards and $45 million in order to just prevent falling behind, Brumback said.
Leary said he sees the plan as a step in the right direction and by bonding for two years, it will allow the public to see the results of where there money will be going.
“Roads are a critical priority. There are some roads that need to be completely repaved, while others just need to be crack sealed. This is a program designed to protect all assets, not just build roads and let them wear out,” he said.
The average lifespan of a road is about 20 to 25 years, according to the study completed, and Leary said the goal is to get roads to where there would be a fixed cost and about 5 percent could be addressed each year. He said declining state contributions and a lack of spending on roads in the past has left the town with a significant need to address.
Both Brumback and Leary said if the plan is going to be set in motion, however, it will first need the full support of the public sector.
“By charter, everything over a $1 million has to go to referendum vote,” Leary said. “That’s just part of the facts. Our job is to make sure the public has all the information they need when they go to the polls so that they know what they are voting for and can say yes or no with complete confidence.”
The Board of Finance will host the public hearing Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in the training room, 69 Lazy Lane. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to attend.
Those with questions are also welcome to contact Garry Brumback at (860) 276-6200.
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