The department will scale back its own contribution, which will reduce the mileage.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- With this summer's paving project well ahead of schedule, the Mahoning County Engineer's Office is already preparing a list of roads for next year.
It's too soon to know how many roads will be included, but Engineer Richard Marsico said the list will almost certainly be shorter than this year's.
This year's program is the most ambitious in the county's history, with its $2.4 million price tag and 50 miles of roads both setting records.
The numbers surpassed the 2000 totals of $1.9 million to pave 42 miles of road, which were records then.
Pavers are well ahead of schedule this year because there has been virtually no rain to hold them up, Marsico said. The project was originally expected to wrap up by mid-October, but is on schedule to be completed by the end of September, Marsico said.
Looking for roads: The department is now beginning to look for roads to put on the list for next year's project. Ones that were on the bubble for this year's project but didn't make the final cut will probably get first consideration, Marsico said.
He'll also look at roads with a history of heavy maintenance and repair.
He doesn't expect the record-setting pace to continue, though, because funding won't be as strong.
Marsico contributed about $350,000 from his general operating budget this year, but won't be able to put in that much next year, he said. That money, which paid for nearly seven miles of pavement, will be needed instead to help cover equipment and personnel costs.
"Unless sales tax collection goes up more than expected, we won't be able to do another 50-mile program," Marsico said.
The county sets aside 5 percent of revenue from a 0.5 percent sales tax each year for road paving. That came to about $650,000 for this year's project, which led to the record spending. The rest of the money was provided by an Ohio Public Works Commission grant.
County Administrator Gary Kubic said it's too early to project whether sales tax revenue will be up, down or the same for next year.
"We'll still do the best we can next year," Marsico said. "We'll just have to slow down a little bit."