Smithtown's elected officials are being asked to vote on whether or not to borrow $10 million to fix the town's roads and sidewalks before they face another winter.
Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen said he has asked the town board to approve a $10 million bond over the course of the next two years to catch up on more than 6,000 outstanding complaints.
"I want to borrow that money to get our roads back up to some kind of good standing. We are losing ground, as our roads keep getting older," Jorgensen said.
The highway superintendent said he has more than 6,000 oustanding complaints from Town of Smithtown residents regarding curb and sidewalk hazards, that he hasn't been given the budget to fix.
Under his 2012 Highway Road Program, Jorgensen asks the town board to approve a $10M bond over a two-year period, borrowing $5 million for 2012 and $5 million for 2013. Doing so would nearly double the amount of roadways he could fix.
"I could get 60 miles of road paved on top of the 60 [miles] I could get under my current budget. In two years, I would try to get 120 miles of roads paved," Jorgensen said. "With that money, I will be able to fix the 6,000 sidewalk complaints.
The bond, if approved, would the average Smithtown homeowner an additional $1 a month in taxes, raising their taxes by approximately $12 a year for two years, according to Jorgensen.
If it seems like an expensive proposition, the highway superintendent said the price of repairing the town's roadways, curb and sidewalks will keep increasing, as the cost of oil continues to spike. Jorgensen estimated that for 2012, it will cost approximately $180,000 to pave one-mile of roadway and make the necessary curb and sidewalk repairs. By 2013, he believes the same project may cost roughly $300,000.
"They can pay us now, or pay us later to do it and pay a lot more money," Jorgensen said. "It's a no brainer to do the catch up work now."
In effort to gain votes on the board, the highway superintendent has been taking any councilman willing to take the trip on a drive of local roadways, going along back roads.
"There are dozens and dozens of roads that need to be fixed... Every road I put down is falling apart. Thank God the winter was mild," Jorgensen said.
He said one area of Smithtown whose roadways are in particularly bad shape is the Pines section of Smithtown, those homeowners with a Smithtown address whose children attend Pines Elementary School under the Hauppauge School District.
Commack residents at the Commack Community Association's March 29 meeting begged Jorgensen to make sure they got their fair share of paving, claiming potholes and sidewalks in many communities are becoming dangerous.
Smithtown Town Board will vote on whether to move forward with the 20120 Highway Road Program and $10 million bond at their 2 p.m. Tuesday board meeting.
If the program is approved, Jorgensen said a list of those roadways to be paved this upcoming spring and summer will be posted on the town's website.