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Published: Friday, 4/24/2009

Councilmen seek $6M to improve city streets

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two Toledo councilmen introduced their plan yesterday to repave residential streets with money from other capital improvement projects.

The Finkbeiner administration's proposed capital improvement budget allocates no money for residential street repaving, but several councilmen have suggested that would be altered.

Councilmen Joe McNamara and Lindsay Webb introduced legislation to allocate an unspecified amount of money.

"I think there is probably some money that can be squeezed out for residential street repaving," Mr. McNamara told council's finance committee.

Ms. Webb said she hoped council could find up to $6 million and spread it evenly over the city's six council districts.

"Really, $1 million [per district] in terms of what needs to be accomplished isn't a lot of money," Ms. Webb said, "but it is at least something, and it is making an effort."

Council's finance committee yesterday reviewed the proposed capital improvement budget.

Robert Reinbolt, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's chief of staff, earlier this month said the city's decline in income tax collections expected for this year and a plan approved by council to redirect $3.9 million of capital improvement money to the general fund upon voter approval left nothing for neighborhood streets.

Lower-volume streets have lower priority because they are not eligible for matching state or federal funds.

The city will spend

$8.22 million from the city's capital improvement program budget to fix commercial streets this year.

That money, which council has already approved, will be supplemented by $6.54 million from state and federal grants,

$6.96 million in grants and loans from the Ohio Public Works Commission, and $935,000 from an urban-paving account.

Additionally, repair or reconstruction of the city's crumbling streets got a

$9.4 million boost this week from the federal and state economic-stimulus campaigns - enough to rebuild an estimated 11.3 miles of major streets and refurbish 11.17 miles more.

The city has about 1,100 miles of streets; $1 million pays for three miles of asphalt resurfacing without curb repair or replacement, 1.5 miles of asphalt resurfacing with curb replacement, one mile of residential street replacement with a new roadbed base, or half a mile of concrete street replacement.

The proposed capital improvement budget totals $23.51 million after debt obligations.

The plan includes $200,000 to fix sidewalks raised by trees and $400,000 for sidewalk reconstruction.

Ms. Webb yesterday suggested redirecting that money for streets.

The capital improvement budget also includes $650,000 for two fire engines, $1.65 million to replace the city's finance computer system, and $175,000 for "PC replacement."

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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