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Some towns make the road maintenance budget, some don't

June 11, 2011

Boonsboro

The town of Boonsboro budgeted $10,000 for routine street repairs in fiscal year 2012, Town Manager Debra Smith said. That's up from about $6,000 in this fiscal year's budget, she said.

The town is expected to receive about $46,000 in highway user revenue next fiscal year, up from just $7,292 this fiscal year. Highway user revenue not used for street repairs goes toward street maintenance and road upgrade projects in the town's capital improvement plan, Smith said.

At the end of each winter season, town employees make a list of streets that need work, and the worst problems are addressed first, she said.

Town officials like to be able to overlay at least one street a year, but for the past couple of years highway user revenue allocations have been too low to for the town to afford to do so, Smith said. The town has not determined if it will be able to overlay any streets next year, she said.



Clear Spring

For the second consecutive year, Clear Spring has not budgeted for road projects.

Town Clerk Juanita Grimm said the amount of money the town will receive from  state highway user revenue prompted the mayor and town council to decide to only do emergency projects again in fiscal year 2012.

The town received $6,879 in highway user revenue for FY 2012, compared to $1,111 in the current fiscal year.

"There is not enough money from the state highway user revenue to do anything major this year," she said.

Grimm said the town has 2.65 miles of road.

Of the town's roads, she said Hawbaker Circle needs attention.



Funkstown

Tight finances have prevented Funkstown from budgeting money beyond state highway user revenue to road projects, said Mayor Paul Crampton.

And with state highway user revenues low in recent years, the town has moved away from a paving schedule to a yearly priority list based on how much blacktop the town can buy, he said.

The town received $12,678 in highway user revenue for fiscal year 2012, more than six times the $2,047 it received in the current year.

Crampton said the revenue stream has been about $4,000 for several years, making it difficult to maintain a paving schedule.

"You don't get much blacktop for $4,000," he said.

If the state continues to increase or provide steady highway user revenue to the towns, Funkstown can go back to a paving schedule, rotating which streets will be paved.

For FY 2012, the town has not yet established its priority list. Crampton said the town will begin working on the list during the next month.  



Hancock

Hancock Town Manager David Smith said the town budgeted $30,000 for pavement maintenance for fiscal year 2012, up from $20,700 for the current fiscal year.

Hancock's highway user revenue allocation rose from $4,700 in fiscal year 2011 to $29,000 for fiscal year 2012.

Smith said the town does not have enough money to repair roads to the extent that he would like. Street repairs will focus on filling cracks caused during heavy snows last winter and even heavier snows the winter before, he said.

The town might overlay some small areas, but no big streets, Smith said. Failure to mill streets before paving in the past makes overlay a bigger job now, he said.

"You're faced with having to mill up the roads before you can use asphalt, because you have less and less curb exposed," he said.



Keedysville

The town of Keedysville has $12,000 budgeted for road work this fiscal year and $18,000 in the next fiscal year.

Mayor Matthew Hull said town officials usually use the fund to fix road problems as they come up, rather than making a plan to start each year.

The town is scheduled to receive $16,128 from the state highway user revenue fund in fiscal year 2012, up from $2,604 in the current fiscal year.

Hull said the town budgets conservatively in case state funding turns out to be less than what was promised.

That happened in 2009, when the state slashed highway user revenue for local governments in the middle of the year.



Sharpsburg

Sharpsburg Town Clerk Kimberly Fulk said the town budgeted $20,000 for highway and street maintenance in both fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2012.

Funds in that category are used for plowing streets as well as making road repairs, as needed, Fulk said.

The town does not have a separate budget line for pavement maintenance, she said.



Smithsburg

With highway revenue down in recent years, Smithsburg is doing more patching of its roads than structural changes, Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said.

This year, the town will work on Grove Lane, where the post office is, using $13,300 from a grant.

Clopper Road needs work, too, but there's probably not enough money this year, Myers said.

The town also has an ongoing overlay program.

Smithsburg received $5,741 in highway user revenue this fiscal year after figuring that it wouldn't get any funding.

Without an official word on its funding for next year — which will be $35,559 — the town put $6,000 in its fiscal year 2012 budget, Myers said.

"We err on the side of not putting too much in," she said.



Williamsport

Williamsport budgeted $11,118 for road projects in fiscal year 2011, then cut the amount later in the year to $5,099.

The town received $5,062 in highway user revenue.

For fiscal year 2012, the town budgeted $5,217 for road projects, even though it is scheduled to receive $31,351 in highway user revenue.

In an interview before the town passed its budget, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said he'll be convinced of the amount of state funding only after the town gets the check.

He said the town is going to pave Frederick Street this year, probably starting in June or July.

Other projects will be "general maintenance" work, he said.



Information compiled by Herald-Mail reporters Kate S. Alexander, Heather Keels and Andrew Schotz.

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