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OC looks at different way to budget road maintenance

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Trustee Bob Eckels, Orchard City's road committee chairman, opened a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14, to consider a budget proposal for road funding in 2018 and beyond. Eckels stated that the information gathered would be set for consideration at a later date. Questions would be addressed after the presentation and discussion by the Orchard City town board and Doug Keller.

Keller was given the floor to present his proposal. The budget for 2018 is projected to be $2.2 million dollars, $1.360 million for materials and labor, $840,000 for preparation and repair. The budget plans $177,000 in revenue, $42,000 from administrative expenses and $32,000 from the general fund. This would be $103,000 gain in revenue over expenditures.

Using a bag of potato chips as an example, the bag could cost $2.49. The same bag at a grocery store would be considerably less while buying a case lot at Sam's Club would bring the price per bag to under $2.00. The same analogy could be used in purchasing larger volumes of road materials. In bulk it could save 10 cents per square yard as opposed to purchasing for one year at a time. This would result in a savings of $34,000. Soliciting Requests for Proposal (RFP) could create a bidding war and drive down costs.

If the funding was done in one year, in 2019, the $103,000 would be paid back to the General Fund. Every year after both the Road and the General Fund would increase, with an estimated 2024 balance of $200,000 in the Road Fund and over a million dollars in the General Fund.

Trustee Tom Huerkamp stated that both funds are Tabor Amendment related. He cautioned that research on the Tabor Amendment would need to be done. If the town reduces the General Fund, under Tabor, it can't be replaced. Local growth and the rate of inflation are factors to determine how much the funds can be increased.

Trustee Eckels said that the board will need to do its homework to adequately respond to Keller and to inform the constituents.

Citizen questions will be answered by the next board meeting (Jan. 10) or at the town hall meeting in January. There is a possibility of having an official from the state available to explain laws and taxation issues.

Trustee Gary Tollefson asked if doing a staged production of 25 percent of the plan per year would be feasible. Keller stated that the overall cost of the project would increase by doing that.

In other concerns, it was stated that the main artery roads would need to remain open during the project or have alternative routes determined. The board would need to come up with a traffic plan. Piggybacking the road work with water pipeline repair and replacement should be considered. The Town of Orchard City owns seven bridges in various conditions that could require repair or replacement within the next few years.

Tollefson mentioned that he had concerns, after reviewing the information on 2100 Road, if chip and seal would be adequate to repair all of the damage. Further review on all of these concerns will be upcoming.

Constituent Dave Steuck asked if the town would be able to get a loan. Huerkamp said that in order to apply for a loan, the town would need to provide proof of a source of revenue. It would also require a vote of approval by the constituents of the town.

The next town council meeting will be Jan. 10, at 7 pm.

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Surface Creek
Budget, Orchard City, roads
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