By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Council members are expected to decide next month whether to spend about $600,000 freed up by paying off short-term debt to repair roads.
Council and the administration had previously discussed assessments to cover the road repair costs. A recent performance audit by State Auditor Jim Petro's office listed road maintenance as an area for improvement in the city.
An additional $200,000 will be available from the community development department, said Dave Robison, the city's director of engineering, planning and building and community development, at an engineering committee meeting Thursday.
But at a resurfacing cost of about $50,000 per mile, the amount being considered doesn't come close to meeting the need.
Even with spending $800,000 for repairs this year, the city still will face $1.5 million in needed street repairs next year, Robison said.
"We should be doing 18 to 21 miles per year," he said.
Councilman Robert A. Marchese, D-at large, said that if people want to live conservatively, they need to understand what goes along with that.
"When people go over a bumpy road, they have to accept it," he said. "Nobody wants to be progressive in this community."
Marchese said council often operates reactively rather than getting together and establishing what the city's priorities are. He believes roads would rank near the top of the priority list.
Councilman John Homlitas, D-3rd, supports the proposed legislation but stresses it's just a Band-Aid approach.
Councilman Gary Fonce, D-at large, agrees.
"We need to make sure citizens understand this is not a solution to the road problem," he said.
Councilwoman Virginia Bufano, D-1st, who sponsored the legislation, pointed out that streets in lower-income areas get paved because the neighborhoods qualify for federal community development grants.
Residents in other areas don't understand why their streets aren't paved, she said.
Bufano said she's gotten calls from constituents who've said they'd support another license plate tax rather than assessments.
But city officials have said that wouldn't generate enough money to put a significant dent in the road repair problem, either.
Council will consider the legislation June 12.