Portage mayor seeks bonding to pave roads

2013-11-21T12:15:00Z 2013-11-21T23:27:07Z Portage mayor seeks bonding to pave roadsJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Mayor James Snyder handed a list of city streets needing paving to members of the City Council's Ways and Means Committee this week.

The list gave rankings of their conditions.

"It should say really bad, bad and somewhat bad," Snyder said of the conditions of the roads in the city.

Snyder told committee members he is working on financing a possible bond issue that could give the city up to $2.5 million in 2014 to pave streets.

The list outlines 24 miles of city streets officials have identified as needing paving. Snyder said the cost for all the streets is estimated at $6.5 million, but was brought down to $5 million this year with paving projects financed through the city, redevelopment commission and utility department budgets.

Snyder said he would like to work with Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham to "cobble together" a plan to finance a five-year bond, borrowing the money from Porter County. If they borrowed the full $2.5 million, the repayment would be $528,000 per year.

Part of the annual repayment would come from additional gas tax money the city has received from the state after legislators backed the Indiana State Police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles out of the fund. This year it gave the city an additional $160,000 to use for paving. Another $100,000 came from the city's local road and street fund.

In addition, said Snyder, he plans on asking the city's Redevelopment Commission to commit to $125,000 a year to repay the loan.

Snyder said he has also been in communication with the mayors of Hobart and Lake Station in hopes they will use some of their funds to repave County Line Road. State regulations make the entities on the west side of county line roads responsible for their maintenance.

He also said he has been working with the Indiana Department of Transportation to gain reimbursement to the city for city efforts in mowing medians and street sweeping along state highways such as U.S. 6, U.S. 20 and Ind. 249.

In addition to paving streets, Snyder said some of the funds could be used for crack sealing roadways to extend their lives and some may be used for sidewalk construction.

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