Manhattan City Commissioners on Tuesday were presented a six-year review of street maintenance and Safe Routes to Schools projects.

Public Works Director Rob Ott says the city has a current Pavement Condition Index (PCI) of about 70, meaning most of the city’s paved arterials are at a fair to satisfactory level. But questions remain over whether the current two-tenths percent sales tax is generating enough funds to help the city address a $57 million backlog of future projects, and the tax scheduled to sunset in 2026.

City Manager Ron Fehr says commissioners need to start thinking about renewal or potentially seeking voter approval for a permanent sales tax in lieu of property taxes.

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The sales tax is generating about $2 million annually for these projects, with the city contributing an additional $2 million annually to the street maintenance fund, but inflation is creating more challenges. Commissioner Wynn Butler shared his perspective at Tuesday’s meeting.

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Public Works Director Rob Ott says what was true in 2017, when the tax was approved by voters, isn’t necessarily true in 2023.

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Commissioner Linda Morse says it’s unfortunate to be at this point after city officials contributed in an effort to stop under funding these projects.

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According to Public Works, the Special Street Maintenance Fund has generated nearly $15 million in sales tax revenue since 2017, with more than $12.3 million expended. As of Jan. 1, that fund had a balance of $2.7 million.

The Motor Fuel Tax has generated $12.17 million since 2017, with more than $7.1 million expended on contractor maintenance. It had a balance of $3.08 million as of Jan. 1.

2023 projects on the horizon for Public Works include:

  • 2 inch asphalt mill and overlays on Casement Road and in the Highland Meadows subdivision
  • Full depth concrete repairs in the Grandview Neighborhood, coordinating with an Anderson Ave. waterline project from Sunset Ave. to Connecticut Ave.
  • Fremont Street from 14th to 12th Streets (coordinated with ATA project)
  • Kimball and Grand Mere Village roundabout
  • Browning Ave. near Anthony Middle School

Other notable projects in the next four years will include 2 inch mill and overlays in the Northview area, Vanesta Drive and Stone Point area, concrete repair on Grandview Terrace, Walters Drive near Eisenhower Middle School, North Ehlers Road, West Wreath Ave, McDowell Ave. and the Bellehaven Area Phase II package. Full asphalt depth repair will be necessary also on MLK Jr. Drive from Anderson to Poyntz, Sunset Ave from Anderson to Claflin and Kimball Ave. from Candlewood Drive to Hudson Drive.

The full presentation from Director Ott is available below.

1. Pavement Management