If city commissioners want to improve the city's streets, Public Works director Chuck Soules has many ideas on how they can do it.
And he presented about $4 million worth of them during budget hearings with city commissioners on Wednesday. Soules told city commissioners that he's identified $4.2 million worth of new projects and equipment that will allow the department to improve the condition of city streets.
City commissioners were all ears during the second of three days of budget hearings this week.
"I can tell you that streets are going to be a large priority for me," Mayor Mike Amyx said.
Among the requests Soules made:
¢ $2.9 million to add to the city's street maintenance program. That would allow the program to grow to $6 million in total.
¢ $140,000 to add three new street maintenance workers to the department, which Soules said would allow his crews to tackle problems more quickly.
¢ $935,000 for equipment replacement, including a new asphalt paving machine.
Soules also asked for $250,000 to build sidewalks along major streets. Soules said the $250,000 would be the first of a six-year funding request designed to fill in sidewalk gaps throughout the city.
Soules said the program would first focus on ensuring all state highways in the city have sidewalks along both sides of the road. Then the program would focus on ensuring that a sidewalk exists on at least one side of arterial and collector streets. Soules said he thought it was important that the city come up with a plan to address sidewalks on the busiest city streets.
"If I need to, I'm not afraid to walk down the street in my neighborhood, but when I get to Sixth Street, I don't want to walk down it," Soules said.
Commissioners will hold their third and final day of budget hearings at 9 a.m. today at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.