In 2011, Southington commissioned a professional study on the state of its roads, and the town received a score of 76 out of 100 possible points.
"We got a 76. That's mid-C level roads," says Town Manager Garry Brumback. "The New England average is 5 points higher at 81 — at least that's a B-Minus."
Brumback explains the economics of town road maintenance.
"It would cost $4.5 million per year over 10 years just to maintain that 76. It would cost $5.5 milion per year over the next 10 years to achieve the New England standard of 81."
The official shares a dire projection. If the town continues to fund road repair at its current level of approximately $1.5 million per year, its roads' grade will be in the 50s within 10 years.
Recognizing the imperative to act, the Town Council unanimously voted to place an $11 milllion roads referendum on the ballot. The referendum is "also supported by the Board of Finance, the Board of Education, and the Superintendent," according to Brumback.
Councillor Cheryl Lounsbury, the Republican House candidate in the 81st District, has even gone so far as to publicly advocate a "yes" vote on the measure. "I support the referendum. This proposal was based on a bipartisan analysis of a problem that has not been addressed."
The town is publicizing the referendum on Channel 14 and via the press. It is also coordinating with local "civic and service organizations" to increase awareness of the ballot measure.
Brumback labels the first two years of the road restoration program a "demonstration project" to "build trust" with residents that the investment is worthwhile. He concedes that additional referendums will be necessary in the future in order to continue the project.
Brumback is sensitive to the fact that "$11 million is a lot of money, and we have a lot other needs." However, he maintains "we have to prioritize our resources, and this is a priority."
If the referendum passes, Southington property owners can expect to pay an increase of "$30 per year per $100,000 of property value," in property taxes, according to Brumback.
The $11 million roads referendum question will be on Tuesday's regular election ballot. Cast your vote on this important local issue.