I was reading the Opinion article from Sept. 24 and would like to clarify remarks made under “Street Maintenance.” The article implies that past councils and city leaders deferred street and drainage projects which led to the state of disrepair in which the city finds itself currently.
Do not misunderstand, I am thrilled that some significant action is taking place to improve city streets; however I would like to give a little background into how we arrived here. In 2010 the city staff estimated street maintenance needs at $6 million.
Historically, various City Councils had always acted on a “pay-as-you-go” basis for street maintenance with budgets ranging from a low of around $350,000 per year up to $800,000 by 2015. In 2015 the City Council commissioned an $85,000 pavement management system study to be conducted by Fugro Roadware to give the city a complete picture of Kerrville’s street maintenance needs.
The study came up with a $40 million price tag for complete remediation. As a result, in 2015 the council on which I served under Mayor Pratt voted to increase funding incrementally over a five year period using existing funding due to the fact that other projects like the River Trail, Sports Complex, and effluent retention pond would be funded by debt, and the previous city manager explained that there would be no extra capacity for issuing additional debt until 2020 or 2023.
The only other option was to increase taxes which was not an acceptable solution. Therefore a maintenance schedule was adopted which included a combination of slurry seal, crack seal, and reconstruction projects until debt could be issued for a major reconstruction project such as we are seeing currently.
Due to the efforts of the city to retire and restructure some of its debt over the past several years, the city is now in a position to be able to borrow to accomplish this project. I hope this clarifies why past city councils took the actions they did.
Bonnie White, Kerrville,
former mayor of Kerrville