Friday, October 26, 2018
By Graig Graziosi
Government leaders in the city are hopeful that residents will renew a five-year, 3-mill road levy to allow Struthers to continue road resurfacing work.
The original levy passed in 2014 and the renewal will be on the November ballot.
The levy is based on 35 percent of the appraised property value and would generate about $318,000 annually. It would cost a homeowner with a $100,000 house $105 annually, or $8.75 per month.
Councilman Tony Fire, D-1st, said the city has identified 73 miles of road in need of repaving. Since the passage of the levy, the city has completed 17 miles of resurfacing.
In 2018, portions of six roads were resurfaced during the city’s road resurfacing project: Smithfield Street, West Spring Street, West Sexton Street, West Harvey Street, West Como Street and Oakview Avenue.
“The last levy allowed us to do this and fix the roads, which helps keep property values up. I think it’s very much needed and other communities are trying to do the same thing using our methods. I think the road levy really needs the support of Struthers,” Fire said.
Fire said the city plans on resurfacing 10 roads in 2019.
The city combined money generated by the levy with money from Community Development Block Grants to meet its 20 percent contribution to the resurfacing projects. The other 80 percent is covered by Mahoning County.
Auditor Christina Bohl said that the levy was an important tool in helping the city secure outside funding for its road resurfacing project.
“Since 2015, what we did and what we’ll plan to do in 2019 will amount to $3,314,000 worth of resurfacing work. The levy raised $1.3 million of that, which allowed us to access the additional funding. That’s an additional $2 million we wouldn’t have had available had we gone about it any other way.”
Fire said the roads are chosen for resurfacing through the input of the road crew foreman Tim Daley, city council members, Mayor Terry Stocker, Safety Service Director Ed Wildes and MS Consultants.
“Because of the way we have to qualify for the CDBG funds, we pick a mixture of heavily traveled roads and some lesser traveled roads throughout the city that are most in need of resurfacing,” Fire said. “Daley drives the roads every day and knows which roads need resurfacing most, and MS Consultants helps us select the right combination of roads from that list to ensure we’ll receive our grants.”
The city identifies which roads will receive resurfacing in the spring.
In addition to the levy, Fire said the city was also using companies to do extensive crack sealing to prepare for the winter and reduce the damage to the roads.