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Published: Tuesday, 6/21/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Toledo council looks at repaving city streets

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council Tuesday got a proposed list of $2.6 million in residential street repaving projects to be done this year and only Council District 2 was left off the list.

Councilman D. Michael Collins, who represents the district that covers South Toledo, called it unfair since that area of Toledo has the highest per capita income yet it would get no residential streets repaved.

“It is hard to explain to my constituents why this district has none,” he said after the proposed list was handed out to members Tuesday during council’s agenda review meeting.

“I am not in favor of this. I think there has to be fairness,” he said.

The residential resurfacing, along with another $350,000 for a sidewalk replacement and repair program, comes out of the city’s annual capital improvement budget.

Toledo Deputy Mayor of Operations Steve Herwat said there would be work in District 2 — on Glendale Avenue between Reynolds and Eastgate roads. He said that work would be done with city crews and funded through the “streets construction repair and maintenance fund,” which comes from gasoline taxes and a $5 license plate fee.

Dave Dysard, Toledo’s administration of public service, said residential streets in poor condition were selected for repaving, but not only those in the most dire shape.

“We have tried to catch streets we have concerns about but that the bases are still in decent shape so we can do just the resurfacing, and do not have to replace the entire base. That allows our dollars to go further,” Mr. Dysard said.

The city also tried to select streets close to each other to save money, he said.

The entire capital improvements budget is expected to be released Wednesday. Part of Mayor Mike Bell’s strategy to balance the 2011 general fund budget — which is used to pay operational costs like police and fire salaries — included transferring $6,775,000 from the capital improvements fund into the general fund. The Bell administration previously said it did not plan to do residential street repaving this year because of the transfer.

“That was the position we took early in the year, but given the condition of the residential streets based on the winter, we made a decision to borrow roughly $2 million so we could do some residential streets,” Mr. Herwat said.

The city will sell debt backed by the capital improvements budget, he said.

The street repaving list still needs council’s approval.

Council Tuesday also reviewed a proposal to increase the salary for the city’s fire chief.

Currently, retiring Fire Chief Mike Wolever is paid $92,500 — less than his assistant chief.

Mayor Bell asked council to approve changing the pay so the fire chief would be paid $1,000 more than the base pay of the highest-paid deputy chief. By the end of 2011, the highest paid deputy fire chief will be paid $102,103, Mr. Bell said.

“We have a salary imbalance here in our safety system,” the mayor said. “No one has really wanted to touch it … I don’t know of another system you would promote anyone and they go backwards [in pay].”

Assistant Fire Chief Luis Santiago has been appointed to be acting chief. His current pay is $99,528.

The city’s police chief is also paid less than some of his immediate subordinates. Mr. Collins suggested the city address that parity issue at the same time.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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