The town will need to spend upwards of $5 million per year over the next decade on road construction in order to get back on track with the rest of the region, according to a pavement management system analysis provided to members of the Public Works Committee this week.
With costs that high, is not content to wait for a recommendation on how the town should proceed.
Finance members on Wednesday discussed the possibility of conducting two referendums, a short term one and second, long-term plan, as a way of addressing road construction needs in a manner that would put the decision in the hands of local taxpayers.
“This is a necessary project, but the public has to buy into it,” said Board of Finance member Anthony Casale Jr. “Many people have known and feel that the roads are in disrepair, but with middle school project about to go online, it will be tough sell and we are going to need their support.”
The Public Works committee on Tuesday heard a presentation from Vanasse Hangen Bristlin, Inc., which recently completed a recommendation after .
Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback said the recommendation “was better than expected” but still included a need for significant work in order to begin addressing problem roads while preventing others from moving into a state of disrepair.
Brumback said the recommendation included a need for $4.5 to $5.5 million in annual repairs. The town had been doing just $1 million in repairs annually over the past decade.
“I would not be opposed of test bite of maybe $10 million to be used over a couple years and then go back to the taxpayers with a referendum for long-term improvements after they see what the money will allow us to do,” Brumback said. “Just $5 million of roadwork in a town our size will have a significant impact and I believe that showing (taxpayer) the impact will have significant, positive effect to gain support in favor of the work.”
The construction would need to include a combination of three different types of projects - easy maintenance, refurbishing (milling and paving) and complete reconstruction – in order to get the town back on track.
School Street in Marion would be one of the top priorities, as it received the worst grade of any road in town, but the other roads to be addressed still need to be determined, officials said.
John Leary, chairman of the Board of Finance, said it’s still early in the process and there is still a lot of planning to do before the town could take their proposal to the public, but he believes a referendum is the way to go in this case.
“It’s something we are going to have to do and it’s never too early to consider the best way to proceed,” he said.
See a complete list of the town’s top 10 worst roads by .
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