2018-06-07 / Front Page

Roads budget presentation, workshop take place in Burton

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — Department of Public Works Director Robert Slattery talked to the council May 29 about one of their top goals posted in the council chambers, which also concerns residents: improving roads.

“Many of our roads need reconstruction, and we’re hard pressed to reconstruct all the roads that need reconstructing,” he said. “Unfortunately, some of those roads have the highest traffic volumes and sometimes there are the most crashes on those roads.”

Slattery said asset management stresses a “mix of fixes” and capital preventive maintenance. Capital preventative maintenance helps keep the water out to extend the service life of roads. Slattery said the other option, letting roads get extremely bad before working on them, was a very expensive way to maintain roads.

Burton received $268,425 from the state of Michigan Public Act 82 for crack seal and chip seal.

“If all you do is worst roads first, you spend all your budget on a small segment of the roads while meanwhile the rest of the roads system continues to deteriorate,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is benefit as many city residents as we can by improving as many miles as we can and having the work on those miles be as cost effective as possible.”

Councilman Vaughn Smith observed approximately $1.5 million in the proposed budget’s fund balance for the major streets was taken out, for a beginning fund balance of $1,662,907 and an end fund balance was $152,807. On the other hand, he saw in the 2016-2017 budget, the beginning balance was $510,505 and the end fund balance was $804,861 for local roads. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, the beginning fund balance for local roads is $964,960 and the end fund balance was $955,590.

“I’m asking why you can’t take some of that money, maybe $400,000-$500,000 of it, and put it to major streets people are traveling?” Smith said.

Slattery said that would be discussed further, but road needs in neighborhoods were also a concern when people lived in beautiful homes and had to drive bad streets to get there.

Slattery said he would like to move up construction to Center Road from Davison to the north city limits from 2020 to 2019 and move back Saginaw Street construction. Work from Center Road from Lapeer to Lippincott is scheduled to begin June 11 this year.

Councilman Danny Wells pointed out people would be driving down Center Road because of the new General Motors plant. Councilman Tom Martinbianco suggested the city look into its ability to access funds through Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the work to Center Road because it could be eligible due to the General Motors warehouse’s expected economic impact. Slattery said that project would not be eligible for those funds in particular, but the city was looking into other funding sources.

Council President Steven Heffner said he believed the city should keep its word to the residents and fix Saginaw Street and not fix the worst roads first. Slattery said that would make sense if Center Road was bad but staying the same, not steadily deteriorating. He said if they did not continue to patch potholes, the potholes would become dangerous on Center Road. Slattery said they could look into getting loans to do both projects in 2019. He said, however, there would be a city match cost involved. He said the interest on the short-term infrastructure bank loan is 2.25 percent.

At the May 30 budget workshop, the mayor said the city was eliminating the transfer from major streets to local streets to keep $302,100 in the major streets fund. Thirty thousand dollars has been budgeted for work on Belsay Road. The city’s cost for construction, engineering and its local share of the Center Road project was estimated $400,000, which has been budgeted for. Two hundred fifty thousand is the estimated cost for the construction, engineering and the local share of the Saginaw Street project.

The city’s agreed to a cost sharing of $120,000 for repairs to the section of Potter Road from For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum to Egleston Avenue, which was damaged during the Genesee County Drain Commission’s waterline project. The county will pay the remainder of the $295,000 estimate.

Councilman Thomas Martinbianco said several people he knew had incidents at the Lippincott and Genesee Road due to speed there. Slattery said solar lighted stop signs and an upgrade to the flashers at this and three other intersections they may be needed at would be approximately $120,000 total. This was not included in the budget.

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