PORTSMOUTH — During a City of Portsmouth Council meeting, the council held a public hearing about a proposed tax levy that would go towards the streets and roads of Portsmouth.
Nathan Prosch, Portsmouth City Engineer, spoke at the council meeting on September 27, proposing a 1 million or 1.5 million tax levy just for street resurfacing. During the meeting, Prosch asked for input from the council on their thoughts on the levy and asked for the public’s comments.
“This year, we are spending $428,000 and only paving a little over two miles in streets and there are 98 miles of street in Portsmouth,” said Prosch. “Around 80 miles of the streets would be asphalt and to do all 80 miles it would take 37 years which is pitiful.”
The proposed 1 million tax levy would generate around $236,000 and the 1.5 million would generate around $350,000. Prosch also stated they would like to use more of the gas tax money to help as well.
“If we use that money along with the $400,000 from the CIP, we would be spending 1 million in paving which is ideal,” said Prosch. “We would be able to pave those 80 miles in 17 years.”
Prosch shared with the council the asphalt would be bid out since the county does not sell asphalt. As of next year, Prosch said they will be part of a grant to help pay for the asphalt. All townships are included in the grant but are split into two groups making the grant available every other year.
“The county gets a lower price simply because they are buying so much. This year I think they purchased over 30,000 tons which comes to about $85 per ton and we are only putting down 3,000 tons and we are spending over $100 per ton,” said Prosch. “Participating in that grant is a big help and I’m going to do it every year I can.”
Prosch said with prices going up on material, it is harder for them to pave as much each year.
“We have been allocating $400,000 for the past several years, so that doesn’t coordinate with the rising cost of labor and materials,” said Prosch.
Third ward resident Andy Cole also spoke, stating he has had the opportunity to talk to many area residents about the road conditions.
“I can talk to anyone in our town and they talk about the shocks on their car, they’re upset, and they want to see it better,” said Cole. “It would be a visual stimulus for Portsmouth as well and we are all trying to create a stimulus one way or another.”
Cole said he believes many residents would support putting more money into our roads.
“There comes a time where you have to present it to the residents and say, you say you want streets, is it important enough for you to be part of the solution and pitch in and pay a little more property tax or whatever those spots are going to be to get us to where we need to be,” said Cole. “We can’t always expect a grant to be there waiting because they are not always that easy and there needs to be a time where we see if the community supports it.”
Once the 1 million or 1 .5 million levy is decided upon, it will be placed on the ballot for residents of Scioto County to decide. Residents may voice their concerns to the Portsmouth City Engineer’s office.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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