County Discusses Unmet Needs
County Discusses Unmet Needs in Road Maintenance, Program Impacts in Pavement Assessment and Opportunities for Addressing Deficiencies
At a workshop on March 12, 2013, the Board of County Commissioners received a presentation in which they were asked, “As we look ahead, what are the unmet needs in Road Maintenance, program impacts in Pavement Assessment funding and opportunities for meeting the County’s goals of improving and maintaining the public infrastructure?”
In the 2008 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Report, the panel commended the County for its fiscal frugality and suggested that we needed to consider the long term operations costs associated with a growing, urbanizing population and that we do our best to ensure there was adequate funding for these costs. Today, we are confronted with maintenance demands that have been escalating for several years.
Road Maintenance has been impacted as a result of increasing maintenance needs, responsibilities and requests for service; increasing costs of materials for paving and repair, and greater degradation of existing infrastructure due to current levels of service that are driven by available resources. Over the next three years, the Pavement Assessment Program will be significantly impacted by revenue collections and discounts offered, and will experience a dramatic drop in funding by FY15/16. Although the County is seeing a cost savings through the utilization of energy efficient lighting, we are still responsible for the operations and maintenance of lighting installed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on collector and arterial roadways that is not energy efficient. Those lighting costs have increased, and preclude the County from adding more FDOT funded lighting on the County road network because FDOT pays for the installation of the lighting.
Recently, the County adopted a new Strategic Plan that will strive to Create a Thriving Community through the “… improvement and maintenance of public infrastructure”. The target to achieving this goal is to “Improve the ratio of preventative maintenance to corrective maintenance in order to meet or exceed industry standards within four (4) years”. One of the techniques for reaching this goal is Pavement Management which was discussed during the presentation; however, the major component for achieving this target will be additional funding in order to meet the unmet maintenance needs of our existing public infrastructure.
As we introduce techniques and strategies for preventative maintenance to achieve cost efficiency, we need to be able to provide the funding that will sustain the existing infrastructure within the County that remains our responsibility. As we look ahead, we will be adding new roadways that emphasize multi-modal transportation opportunities and the construction of new pedestrian/bicycle trails. As indicated in the ULI Report, the Second Local Option Fuel Tax is a revenue source that can provide the funding needed for maintaining the extensive inventory of public infrastructure we operate and maintain. During the presentation an overview of the Local Option Fuel Tax was provided, with an estimate of annual revenue that could be collected with the additional five cents from the Second Local Option Fuel Tax and a list of authorized uses.
Staff described how the additional revenue from the Second Local Option Fuel Tax would be utilized, a strategy for implementation and provided a project timeline. If the Board chooses to levy the Second Local Option Fuel Tax, the Board must approve the levy before October 1, 2013 in order to be effective January 1, 2014.