Dallas adds money for street repairs

DALLAS — The Dallas Budget Committee voted to add an extra $50,000 to the 2017-18 budget for street repair.

The money would be taken from the street department’s contingency fund and bring the total spent on paving and repairs to $350,000.

Committee member Pete Christensen brought a proposal to spend at least $100,000 in residential areas. Christensen served on the citizen’s committee that researched solutions for upkeep of residential streets.

A $10 million bond to repair residential streets failed by a large margin in May 2016.

“We had a street bond issue proposed to the public and people told us two things: First, we don’t want to pay more taxes and, second, was that we think the city can find some way to provide street maintenance for residential streets out of your budget,” Christensen said.

He suggested the budget for maintaining collector and arterial roads be reduced by $50,000 and another $50,000 from contingency go toward residential areas.

City Manager Ron Foggin said a large portion of the $919,500 contingency is spoken for with two projects on the horizon. The city is responsible for contributing $200,000 to a project that would redo a portion of Godsey Road. Half the funding to install a signal at Fir Villa and East Ellendale Avenue claims another $600,000. The other half will come from street system development charges.

He also warned that falling behind on arterial and collector streets, which carry more traffic, could be expensive to correct.

“The further you fall behind on collector and arterial streets, the harder it is to catch up,” he said. “You roll the dice a little bit.”

That said, Foggin said he didn’t see a problem with taking the extra $50,000.

“I think it is really smart, and also, I think it would be a reminder to the community that we are actually hearing them,” said Dawn Reynolds, a committee member. “I’m not sure we can afford all that, but I do think we should seriously consider it.”

Foggin said the city’s public works committee is working toward a proposal on the issue of residential streets.

Ken Woods Jr., a budget committee member and city councilor, proposed another option: Pull $50,000 out of contingency and allow the public works committee to recommend how to divide up the funding.

That motion was approved with committee member Mike Harris voting no.

The committee’s next meeting is May 15 following the Dallas City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

In other business, the committee:

• Following discussion at the April 24 meeting, voted to restore funding for a recreation coordinator, which had not been part of the proposed budget.

• Heard an update from Foggin about an assessment of the city’s options to build a public safety facility. He said one option to pay for the building or renovation of such a facility would be to ask voters to continue paying on a bond that will expire. The current cost of that bond is about 50 cents per $1,000.

He said he wanted the committee to be aware of that consideration and that the city has an analysis happening now.

“It may be a tougher conversation if you wait until it’s completely paid off,” he said.

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