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Little public input provided at public hearing on Danville roads

Attendance at the public hearing held Friday for residents to voice issues about road repairs needed in Danville was a “200% increase over last year’s,” according to city officials — meaning two residents were present.

“The purpose of this meeting is to get information from the public — we’re here to listen,” said John Cassel, city engineer.

The hearing is a legal requirement in order for the city to receive Municipal Road Aid funds from the state. Municipal Road Aid is funded by the state’s gas tax, explained CFO Michele Gosser.

“And that’s declined over the years,” she said. She explained that new legislation has been in the works in Kentucky to hopefully get money provided for the fund. Many say the state needs to change how the road funds are figured — critics say the formulas are outdated.

Gosser said this legislative change is important in order to “get the public roads fixed in a fashion that we can keep up with their decline.”

She said the city expects to receive $315,000 from the state road aid, and that 100% of that goes toward repaving roads.

“We’re also adding money to that from the general fund — we feel like we need to keep up with roads. We will be spending $500,000 on streets and roads next year, as far as paving over old roads,” Gosser said, referring to the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.

Gosser said the city always transfers $25,000 back to the general fund in order to help with labor costs on potholes throughout the year.

She also mentioned the new road in the budget for $125,000 coming up this fiscal year — an access road planned for just behind Applebee’s, leading into the Saddle Ridge subdivision. The road is planned in order to relieve congestion at the light in front of Starbucks.

Cassel also took the opportunity to give an update on what’s been done so far on roads in the city. He said crews are able to mill — removing part of the surface before paving it — in the wet weather, but they are not able to pave.

“Hopefully into next week, the weather will cooperate with us” to get more road work done, he said.

Cassel also emphasized that the Municipal Road Aid funding the city receives may only be used on city streets, not state roads. “We have to keep this aside from that … A lot of folks don’t know what city and state roads are.”

He said one way to determine a city from a state road is if they have a centerline — “Then it’s probably a state road.” He asked that residents keep that in mind when reporting road issues to the city.

Bill Stocker was the only resident to speak. “I realize it’s not a city concern, because what I’d like to talk about is the area of Third Street, between Main and Broadway.” He said he realizes it’s a state highway (Ky. 33) but added, “it’s in really bad shape … And I figure the City of Danville’s thunder is a lot louder than my thunder.”

Stocker asked city staff if they would please put the heavily traveled area on the list of concerns Danville residents have for the next time they speak to the state. “That piece of street is all to pieces — pot holes have been filled, and refilled and filled. It deserves some attention.”

Cassel said that area “would be a great candidate, too. You look at the granite curb and everything, the money we put into dressing the area up and the pavement needs attention.”

Stockton thanked the City of Danville for the work it had done in the area, and gave kudos for how nice the area looks, including how the transformers on the west side of Third Street were “taken up — they were an eyesore and now that area looks really nice.”

Although the hearing notice was just made public Tuesday evening and a Thursday deadline given for submissions of issues from those who could not attend, Cassel said there’s no deadline year-round if residents notice a road repair needed. 

“If you or someone who isn’t here at this meeting notices something in the coming days, weeks, months, year — call down here and let us know,” he said, or residents may go to the city’s website and submit the information.

At danvilleky.org, residents can choose the “How do I?” header, which drops down into sections, and shows a “Report …” section, which includes pot holes. Cassel said the staff reviews those reports, combined with calls received.

“If it’s something that’s a health or safety issue, it gets put way up on the list … If it’s something that’s a bigger project or conditions don’t allow it to be dealt with right away, then we put it on the list and basically triage all the reports,” Cassel said. Then the issue is dealt with when the city has the money and the manpower, he said.

Plus, Cassel said, the city may not do as much paving in the fall in order to hold back reserves in case of bad situations in the winter.

The repaving list is generally worked on once or twice a year, Cassel said. He hopes to “try to update our web pages soon, so maybe we have one that gives more information” on a regular basis to the public about road work.

This year, Danville’s spring paving list includes:

• Bonnie Court, paved, from West Jefferson to the end

• Popplewell Lane, paved, from Walton Avenue Extension to end of Maintenance

• First Street, from East Lexington Avenue to East Main Street; and Latimer Heights/Park, full length, both milled

• Jacob Street, from Second to Fourth streets, currently paving

• Milling/paving planned for Regency Drive/Road, plus the Terri Drive Connector and a short section of the east end of Main Street; and J.E. Woods Drive, from Second Street to end (to be added as funds allow)