Assembly to hit roads decision

Road service area requests $384,500 extra for projects

Posted: Friday, September 02, 2005

With a long list of projects aimed at improving the borough road system, the road service area has asked the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly to approve allocation of an additional $384,500 to its fiscal year 2006 budget.

A public hearing on the proposed expenditures written into Ordinance 2005-19-13, introduced Aug. 2, is scheduled for the assembly’s Tuesday meeting in Soldotna.

Projects the RSA wants supplemental funding for include surveying and platting of future roads, continued work on street name changes, additional general road maintenance and increasing available funds for providing matching dollars for the Road Improvement Assessment District program.

The additional funds are available. According to Roads Director Gary Davis, the RSA’s 2006 budget is based on a 1.3-mill tax levy. However, the assembly approved a 1.4-mill levy. The extra tenth of a mill is expected to generate an additional $265,855.

Meanwhile, the RSA board has identified projects requiring a total of $384,500. The difference between the increased tax revenue and the total would be appropriated from the service area’s existing fund balance.

Specifically, the ordinance would appropriate $20,000 for surveying and platting work along the routes of noncontiguous borough roads.

Dust generates calls to the RSA every year by residents who want the dust control program expanded. In a memo to the assembly, Davis said the RSA tries to accommodate additional roads and has boosted that part of the budget over the past couple of years. The RSA is requesting an additional $20,000 for dust control.

Davis also said the borough Planning Department is continuing work on street name changes. The RSA, however, is responsible for purchasing and installing the new signs. The ordinance would add $5,000 for sign materials.

“We will work with temporary staff as long as we can to keep up as best we can with this project,” Davis told the assembly.

Another $180,000 is requested for general road maintenance. Davis said the borough had been fortunate over the past couple of years in not needing supplemental funding from the RSA fund balance for general road maintenance. However, the RSA has been cautious about expenditures as the borough’s July-through-June fiscal year budgets near their ends.

“This reduces our ability to timely complete needed spring breakup repairs,” he said. “This additional funding would help to establish a budget that would allow for more end-of-year road maintenance work.”

The service area and the borough administration have been promoting the formation of Road Improvement Assessment Districts, or RIADs, which essentially amount to agreements between neighborhood residents to share in the cost of upgrading and paving roads, subsidized by funding from the borough.

“These promotions have apparently worked, with six applications received this past month,” Davis said in the memo. Four of those have thus far earned RSA board approval.

However, Davis said a couple of previous applications were rejected because the borough lacked the 50-percent matching funds.

“The sizes of some proposed RIADs also indicate we need to establish a sizable RIAD match program,” he said.

The RSA’s initial 2006 budget did not allow for any significant appropriation to a RIAD fund. The RSA is asking the assembly for $159,500 to be transferred to the program. That amount exceeds the funding provide by the extra tenth-mill tax levy, so the RSA proposes appropriating that money from the existing service area fund balance, its working capital savings account.

Davis said the RSA’s fund balance is adequate to meet the borough’s fund-balance policy, which recommends a balance ranging approximately between $1.3 million and $2.3 million. The proposed $384,500 appropriations would leave almost $1.8 million in the balance, well within the safe range. The RSA officially unanimously approved the request for additional funding in RSA Resolution 2005-07 adopted in July.

In another ordinance up for public hearing Tuesday, the RSA is requesting $33,000 from its fund balance to pay for contracting engineering estimates of the four approved road improvement districts. Those districts are:

· Ryan Lane, in Sterling on Longmere Lake;

· Whisperwood Subdivision, off West Poppy Lane; includes Whisperwood Street, Cockrobin Court, Birdsong Court, Birdsong Avenue, Whisper Way, Windsong Court, Snowflake Court and Autumn Court;

· Wilderness Park Subdivision, in Moose Pass; includes Toklat Way, Twin Falls Court and Upper Trails Court (this RIAD is a first of its kind — an upgrade to RSA standards so it can be placed on the borough maintenance list); and

· Centennial Subdivision, off West Poppy Lane; includes Nancy Street, a portion of Whitlock Avenue, and a portion of Iditarod Street.

Another RIAD in Westbrook Estates was approved earlier this summer.

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