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Yorkville considering road fee on utility bills

Updated: March 15, 2013 1:42PM

YORKVILLE — When city priorities are discussed here, there’s one word that seems to cut across almost all groups: roads.

Everyone in town agrees city streets need maintenance. But road repairs have been on the back burner the past several years as the city government tries to fill in what might be considered budgetary potholes.

This week, city staff proposed a road infrastructure fee of $8 a month, to be collected through normal water, sewer and garbage collection fees every other month.

Bart Olson, city administrator, told aldermen the fee would raise an estimated $1 million a year to put into what officials are calling the Road to Better Roads program.

The proposed fee was presented for the first time this week as part of the 2014 fiscal year budget discussions. Olson said the City Council will discuss the proposed fee and decide “whether to leave it in the budget or not.”

Olson said the fee, collected with utility bills, is a better way to collect road money than through the sale of city stickers.

He said the city’s inability to fix roads is getting to the point where the city could actual incur greater cost “for every dollar you don’t spend.”

“There comes a point where it’s more efficient to spend money now, rather than wait another 10 years,” he said.

The road fee is included in a restructuring of current fees residents pay in a way that would actually cut the number of overall fee money paid by 50 cents a month, Olson said.

The current water and sewer fees — each $8.25 cents a month — would be cut to $4 a month each. The road fee then would be $8 a month. So, the total amount in fees paid by residents a month would be $16, instead of the current $16.50 a month.

“There’s an uptick now, but the goal is to get them all down in the long run,” Olson said.

The money is needed because of road repairs needed and, in some cases, projects the city already has committed to, Olson said.

For instance, the long rebuilding of Game Farm Road will start in fiscal year 2014, and continue through fiscal years 2015 and 2016. For fiscal year 2015, the city has to find money for its commitment to the state’s Route 34 expansion between Route 47 and Orchard Road.

In fiscal year 2016, the city also faces the resurfacing of Cannonball Road, between Blackberry Shore Lane and Amanda Lane, and its share of the Route 71 expansion between Route 47 and Orchard Road.

Because the fee was just presented this week, aldermen have not taken up sides in favor or against the road infrastructure fee. Mayor Gary Golinski said Wednesday he has gotten no feedback, but indicated he would favor the fee.

“I think most of them (aldermen) realize that it is a cost savings to the residents over what was being proposed last year in terms of a sewer infrastructure fee,” Golinski said.

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