By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Ste. Genevieve voters may get a chance to vote on how the city approaches upcoming street maintenance and how much is spent on it.
A proposed 15-year preventative maintenance plan with Cochran Engineering to maintain city streets was one of two topics at a work session following last Thursday night’s board of aldermen meeting.
The cost of the program, some $900,000 a year, was a bit disconcerting.
“I’m trying not to get shell shocked by these numbers,” Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan said during the discussion.
“Basically, our budget has been relatively flat, along with our income,” Donovan said. “[We have] to try not to get blown away by these numbers and say, OK, we have to do something. This is five years … this number is probably going to continue. Looking at all of our streets, how bad a shape they’re in. There’s no storm water on 90 percent of our streets. We’ve taken the right step by starting the procedure. If you don’t do that, then shame on you. We have to do something to try to get a better deal going on for the taxpayers.”
He was the first to bring up the idea of a bond issue.
Donovan asked whether there were many bond issues pursued for street maintenance, rather than just for water, sewer and other infrastructure projects. Christensen said there are.
Christensen said that Cochran could have put together a plan for $500,000 a year or so, with less done.
“You can, if we come up with a plan that this street – whatever street we pick – we’re not going to get to that street for eight years,” he said, “and that street’s a disaster.”
The idea of a bond issue then came up.
“I don’t know why we don’t leave it up to the voters,” Mayor Paul Hassler said. “I think everything I see here, that’s who needs to decide this. Because when you have a problem on the street, it’s from one of the voters. Other cities do it. Perryville does it.”
He suggested that the city needs to do something “sooner rather than later.”
“I don’t know why we don’t move and talk about a bond issue,” he said, adding, “Leave it up to the voters. Maybe you’ll be surprised.”