Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 11, 2014

B’Boro moves forward with street repairs

Chad Wilson
The Athens Review

Athens — Road repairs in Brownsboro will not come cheap, especially with concerns over proper drainage.

During a regularly-scheduled city council meeting Thursday, Brownsboro Mayor Terry Mills presented a year’s worth of work before the council as part of a discussion on road repairs.

“We have to start. This is a 30-year project. The roads are at their end. We have to start somewhere,” Mills said. “In my opinion, if you are going to start this and use our citizens’ money, we might as well do it right. There is no need in overlaying again and changing the elevation. There have been a bunch of citizens coming to me about it, but they don't understand that we can't just pave a road, adding two inches to it. We have to do it the right way for everyone.”

Mills presented the council with estimates drawn up by an engineer.  For complete repairs to Saylors and Ingram Street, along with the major intersection between the two, it would cost more than $2 million.

The estimate is not an official bid on the project. Rather it is just a guide for the city. Actual bids could come in slightly less, but would still be close to that mark.

Mills anticipates another discussion on the streets during the Feb. 13 council meeting with possible action to follow.

During Thursday's meeting, Mills proposed the city start small with a three or five-year tax-anticipation note, and fix the intersection of Saylors and Ingram.

Engineer estimates for the intersection call for at least $250,000 in repairs and modification due to the steep decline of Saylors heading into the intersection.

“The engineers have put the proposal in order of their importance,” Mills said. “They have recommended the intersection first.”

Mills and members of the council are expected to meet with various organizations in the upcoming weeks to determine the best possible route for the project.

If a tax-anticipation note was taken out, the city would raise taxes for the span of the note. Once complete, taxes could return to their current level of .383669 per $100 valuation, Mills said.

The council would not have to put the issue to the citizens for a vote, but Mills and the council agreed they wanted community involvement on the proposed project.

“Our options include a tax-anticipation note, which runs three, five and seven years, for smaller projects. If we choose to do a bigger project, we would need a certificate of obligation which goes 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. I don't want to do the certificate of obligation, because I would like to see a short-term tax-anticipation note to do one of these issues. We could see how that project goes, and then see how we want to proceed in the future. I would hate to do something for 15 years, and see nothing happen in this city, forcing foreclosure or whatever else could happen. A smaller scale note is easier to maintain. Neither one of these are required to go before the voters.”

Mills said the city would use a financial company to hold town-hall meetings, and notify the public of the possible tax increase for road repairs.

“When you pay it off, the citizen's tax rate goes back to where it was before the project started,” Mills said. “From that point, you could go back to the drawing board with phase two. At that point, a bigger project might be the direction to go to knock out an entire street.”

In order to correct the drainage and slope of the intersection at Ingram and Saylors, the engineers have proposed going back 100-feet in each direction, and gradually declining toward the intersection. The intersection and 100-feet of roadway would be concrete and built to last.

“It took a year to get plans for Ingram and Saylors, because of how extensive the plans are,” Mills said. “This is the beginning. Now we will talk with these guys, and find the cheapest way on our citizens to do this project and do it right.”

In other items of business, the council approved spending up to $26,882 on the purchase of a new Chevrolet crew-cab truck from a fleet dealer in College Station. The truck will be used in the maintenance department to replace a vehicle that was stolen late last year.

Insurance is expected to pay $7,000 for the stolen vehicle. That money will be applied toward the purchase of the truck. The city had set aside money in its annual budget for the purchase of a new vehicle this year. The new truck is expected to come with a 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Council also approved the mid-year budget without a change in the bottom line.