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Borough Council to discuss bond for rebuilding streets

November 16, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. - There's a map in Kevin Grubbs' office in Waynesboro Borough Hall that color-codes the 60 miles of borough streets in green, blue, black, red and yellow.

The streets represented by red could mean some hefty tax increases for borough residents.

Grubbs, assistant borough engineer, said Monday that the Borough Council has scheduled a special public meeting for 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at Waynesboro's Borough Hall to discuss floating an $8.9 million bond to pay for the total reconstruction of nearly half of the borough streets.

Their condition is so bad that they need to be torn up and rebuilt, he said.

About 46 percent of the borough's streets show up in red on Grubbs' map.

The next-worst roads, those in black on the map, need new overlay. Grubbs estimated it would cost about $950,000. Those streets represent about 20 percent of the total.

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The streets shown in blue, about 14 percent, need only minor repairs and the rest, those in green, are in good condition, according to the map.

Streets marked in yellow, including Main Street, are state-owned streets and are the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Borough Councilman Dick George, chairman of the council's street committee, first mentioned the need for a public meeting about street conditions two weeks ago.

Wednesday's session will precede the council's regular meeting by 45 minutes.

"The infrastructure is not in good condition," George said in an interview last week. Residents on Park Street signed petitions this summer demanding that the council do something about the "deplorable" conditions on that street, he said.

"We started to look elsewhere and saw that a lot of the streets need immediate attention," George said. "I found that very little local tax money has been put into the streets over the years."

For the most part, he said, the only sections of the borough where the streets are in good condition are those that have been repaired through Community Development Block Grant funds that the borough receives every year. The rules require that block grant money be spent in areas where low- to moderate-income residents live.

The borough has been spending about $300,000 a year in block grant funds to repair roads in those sections, George said.

"The rest gets nothing," George said. "We're now at the point where quite a few streets have been let go and have to be rebuilt from the base up. That is very expensive."

He estimated that it will cost $250,000 to $300,000 to reconstruct a single block of borough street.

George said the borough has two options - do nothing and see the deterioration continue and the cost increase significantly, or start the process to correct the situation.

Grubbs said the work would have to be phased in over a period of at least 10 years.

The borough's street department is not capable of doing the work, he said.

"We don't have the large trucks, the equipment or the manpower," Grubbs said.

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