Lisbon Council may ask voters to consider supporting street levy

LISBON – So many potholes, so few dollars to pay for the material needed to fill them.

Faced with this dilemma, Village Council will be asked to consider placing a street levy of at least 3 mills before voters in the Nov. 4 general election.

This was the recommendation of the council finance committee – Jeff Snyder, Tom Darcy and Cheryl Mills – after they met last week with Street Supervisor Jim Oliver, who requested the meeting to discuss seeking a levy.

Like other towns in the region, Lisbon has a major pothole problem created in large part by the long, cold winter, followed by a cool, wet spring that delayed serious repair work from being undertaken until last week. The village has some sections of streets where potholes stretch nearly the entire width, making it impossible for motorists to avoid.

Oliver and his three-person staff do what they can, juggling road repairs with their mowing duties and other responsibilities, but the problem this year is overwhelming, which is why he suggested perhaps now was the time to consider asking voters to approve a levy.

Snyder said the cemetery has a 3-mill levy that is supposed to bring in $54,000 this year. “Fifty-thousand dollars really won’t go that far, but it will go farther than they’re doing now,” he said.

After some discussion, the committee decided they would ask council as a whole to consider placing at least a 3-mill levy before voters.

“I don’t know whether the people will go for it … but the money we have now just won’t stretch,” Snyder said.

Oliver said the time may be right to approach citizens. “I think it would fly now because of all the potholes,” he said.

After employee salaries and benefits are subtracted, the street department is left with about $70,000, which does not go very far given the cost of blacktop and other materials.

For instance, Jerome Street has been ground down in preparation for two inches of base being applied until 2015, when the Ohio Department of Transportation is scheduled to resurface the entire length of state Route 164, which includes the street. Oliver said a company estimated it would cost $83,000 to supply and apply the base.

“There ain’t no way,” Snyder said. He suggested Oliver obtain another estimate.

Oliver said he also received a $150,000 estimate to grind down and blacktop all of East Washington Street.

The street department has already used 64 tons of blacktop to fill in potholes and has spent a total $12,000 to date, which includes preparing to repair Jerome, North Beaver Street and Race Road to be resurfaced. North Beaver has already been patched, and Jerome and Race are expected to be resurfaced in June.

The village decided not to have any streets resurfaced this year using chip seal, choosing instead to focus all resources on filling potholes and resurfacing as many stretches of streets with blacktop as possible.

Councilman Joe Morenz reported last week that Frank Ieropoli, when told no alleys would be chip sealed this year, took it upon himself to fill in the potholes with blacktop in the alley behind his North Market Street car wash.

“He should get a real big thank you for that,” Morenz said of Ieropoli.

Snyder suggested Oliver consider working his crew on Saturdays if possible to get caught up. “If you can get blacktop on Saturday and can get the workers, I don’t have a problem with that,” he said.

Oliver said they could begin working six day weeks starting this week.