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Unpatched Roads and the Leaky Bucket

2018 March 26
by Jim

At the last Road Committee meeting, Bob Toynbee and Jeane Kennedy took us through some depressing facts. The good news is we have $364,684 in our CSA4 “bucket” – the money we have all paid in through our annual property tax CSA4 fees. The bad news is that the County is pulling money out for a variety of fees that are not providing evident value to us, and that look a lot like things that should be paid out of the general tax revenue. The leaks in the bucket include:

  • $1,050 for “A87 Fees”
  • $312 for “Assessment Handling”
  • $1,713 for Public Works activities including “complaint handling”

So our bucket of funds is leaking. The other depressing fact is that the amount of our funds used to patch, repair, and improve our roads in 2017 – $0. The only reason our bucket is so full is that it’s been near $0 for several years running. So our money is being whittled away on administrating a lot of… nothing.

Supervisor Dennis Mills was present, and put some of this in context:

  • The county has been dealing with the aftermath of the Butte Fire, which has diverted a lot of Public Works’ attention. This may be mitigated somewhat going forward, as the county has established that the Office of Emergency Services (“OE” or somesuch) should be attending to the Butte Fire, and Public Works should be freed up to focus on the normal needs of the county.
  • Right now DiamondXX is prohibited from using 3rd party contractors to work on our roads. This is to protect the union workers from losing out on work (that isn’t getting done?). The supervisors could change this if they had the political will/backing to do so.
  • Even though the OE should be taking some of the burden off of Public Works, the backlog of deferred maintenance and projects will take a long time to work through.

Supervisor Mills said that emails from us are effective in helping Public Works to prioritize our needs. In short, what we need to push for is:

  • Establishing a near-term plan to bring our roads back into good repair, so that we don’t have even more and more costly damage.
  • Developing a strategic plan for our roads to improve them over time.
  • Establishing a way so that we can employ contractors when it makes sense to keep our roads in good repair and get ahead of critical issues.

What you can do:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, you should get a little bit ticked off, in my opinion. Our community has done everything asked of us – we have each been paying hundreds of dollars annually into the fund, our Road Committee has been working tirelessly to help the county to get work done (even driving all 18 miles of road with a GPS clicker to map each and every pothole), and many of us have been attending meetings to voice our concerns.
  2. Now that you are worked up, fire up your email program and write a NICE letter to Dennis Mills, our County Supervisor, and Tim Lutz, our new County Administrative Officer. Let them know how you are personally impacted – you may be vulnerable to being stranded in a storm or fire, or your vehicles may be banged up, or your home values diminished. And let them know what is most important to you in terms of what needs to change.
  3. Be sure you and your neighbors in the DiamondXX are in the loop on Road Committee meetings. Look for the signs by the entrances leading up to meetings, and put your email in the Announcement List box to the right (over here ——————->)

Drive safe – these are the only roads and bodies we get!

Jim

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Bob Toynbee permalink
    March 26, 2018

    Very well presented. Thank you, Jim.

  2. Jeane Kennedy permalink
    March 27, 2018

    Jim – you captured the essence of our community meeting accurately. Well done! But more importantly, you’ve provided a “call to action” for those wishing to try to accomplish something through their actions.

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