Oregon to add $1M more on street fixes, upgrades

Council: Time for infrastructure improvements

12/9/2013
BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
By the month’s end, Oregon will have spent $1.5 million for street improvements in 2013. A proposal would raise the total to $2.5 million, including a $1 million transfer from the general fund.
By the month’s end, Oregon will have spent $1.5 million for street improvements in 2013. A proposal would raise the total to $2.5 million, including a $1 million transfer from the general fund.

Oregon will increase its spending on street repair and improvements by $1 million next year, according to a rough draft of the city’s 2014 budget.

Beazley
Beazley

By the end of this month, the city will have spent $1.5 million for street improvements in 2013. In 2014, under the proposed budget council members saw last week, the total figure for street spending rises to $2.5 million, including a $1 million transfer from the general fund.

“We’re going to go for infrastructure improvements,” said Councilman Jim Seaman, chairman of council’s finance committee. “This is for the long-term advantage of our citizens.”

Municipal Administrator Mike Beazley, who put together the plan, added, “We think it’s time we devoted some attention to the capital [improvements] side.”

This year, the city budgeted about $16.5 million for spending in all categories. Actual spending is expected to be slightly less. Oregon’s actual income-tax collection is projected to be $17.90 million, roughly the same amount as was budgeted.

“For 2013, we’re going to spend a little less than we bring in,” Mr. Beazley said at a finance committee meeting. “We budgeted for a 4 percent decline in income tax revenue, and that’s about where we came in.”

The city’s largest revenue source is its 2.25 percent income tax, which will generate $11 million this year for the general fund and $11.5 million in 2014. Oregon funds its streets programs with money from a dedicated capital budget. General-fund money also is used for water, sewer, and storm water management costs.

The city’s biggest cost by far is public safety, with anticipated spending of $10.1 million in 2014 for the police and fire departments and the municipal court. Total expenses proposed for 2014 are $18.41 million, while income tax revenue is projected at $18.83 million next year.

No money has been budgeted for pay raises, but the city has labor talks next year.

According to Mr. Beazley, 2014 will mark the first year of a multiyear waterline replacement program for which the city will spend $800,000 or more annually over the next several years.

Paul Roman, Oregon’s service director, said street projects in 2014 will include improvements on Issac Streets Drive, where the 6-inch concrete pavement will be replaced with more durable 8-inch pavement and new curbs installed, at a cost of $982,000.

Another street project will add a lane to Coy Road at Dustin Road, costing the city $208,800; outside funding will pay the remaining $827,200.

The city plans to upgrade pedestrian signals at Stadium and Coy roads at a cost of $5,000. Signals also will be upgraded at Woodville Road and Reswick Drive for $10,000, and Pickle Road for $20,000. The city also will spend $77,000 on its annual sidewalk program.

In its organizational meeting right after the finance committee meeting, council unanimously appointed Dennis Walendzak its new president. Mr. Walendzak replaces Tom Susor, who lost his challenge to Mayor Mike Seferian in the Nov. 5 election and is no longer on council.