Friday, April 23, 2010

Maps that illustrates city budget cuts, Part III -- City streets
Third and final in a League of Minnesota Cities series - This particular map provides a visual representation of the magnitude of recent budget-cutting actions specifically in the service area related to city streets (construction and maintenance). Actions taken may be in response to cuts made in state aid, as well as to other economic factors currently putting stress on city budgets. Again, as with the first two maps, note that some areas of the state may appear underrepresented because of lack of online news content available in those areas, among other factors. Frequent “streets” actions may include delay of reconstruction projects and routine maintenance (crack fillings, seal coating); and change snow removal policy (raise threshold, eliminate overtime so plowing wont’ happen on weekends/at night) among others. Taxpayers should note that, without ongoing maintenance, the average life expectancy of local streets is approximately 25-30 years. With appropriate maintenance, the significant investment in this infrastructure can be extended to 50-60 years. Maintenance costs increase as road systems age. Thus, timely maintenance is not only effective in improving roadway surfaces, but also saves money over the long run. Poor street conditions can cause wear and tear on vehicles, causing additional maintenance and repair issues for taxpayers.