Turlock City Council will be taking a slightly different approach to road repairs when the budget is approved for the 2015-16 fiscal year, however it will not include any additional funds.
Last year, Turlock City Council elected to include $50,000 from the general fund for road maintenance — specifically for pothole repair.
The money, this year, will still be dedicated to road maintenance, but instead used for a crack seal contract, if Mayor Gary Soiseth’s budget recommendations are adopted.
Soiseth determined that a crack seal contract would be more cost effective for Turlock roads then adding a pothole repair team, after discussing the options with staff.
“While we have our pothole crews going out and doing their jobs, we didn’t have that crack sealing component,” said Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities Allison Van Guilder. “So what was happening is you might have a crew go in and fill a bunch of potholes, but with that first rain all of that work is undone because the water comes in through the cracks."
The City of Turlock doesn’t typically use crack seal treatments on local roads, with the last project being 19,300 square yards along Canal Drive. The cost of the Canal Drive project was $11,800 — or 61 cents per square yard.
At this cost, the City of Turlock is estimating the ability to crack seal 13 lane miles, or 82,000 square yards, with the $50,000 allocation.
“It’s conservative, we know,” said Van Guilder. “It’s a step in the right direction though, we believe, and works to compliment what we’re already doing in terms of our pothole crews."
It is unknown at this time which roads exactly would receive the treatment, but it may divide the city into zones, with a different zone being treated each year.
Soiseth said the program is only a pilot program and depending on the effectiveness of the program during the first year, if it is approved, Turlock City Council could continue the program in future years and continue to increases funding.
“We can evaluate the actual effectiveness of this crack seal contract and allocate $50,000, $25,000, $100,000 the following year,” said Soiseth.
The treatment would not be an ultimate fix for Turlock roads, which have been sharply deteriorating over years.
The majority of funds dedicated to road maintenance and repaving comes from the Gas Tax, which is estimated to bring in $353,000 for 2015-16. The City of Turlock typically uses Gas Tax dollars as matching dollars for federal money — hence the reason major corridors such as Fulkerth Road and Monte Vista Avenue have been repaved in recent years.
Despite the limited funds going to roads this upcoming fiscal year, Soiseth ensures the public that roads continue to be a priority.
“Roads continue to be a top priority,” said Soiseth. “We are resurfacing Hawkeye and Geer Roads, two of our worst thoroughfares in the city. We are bringing our sidewalks up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. And we are aggressively filling potholes, with the proposed addition of a crack sealing contract to increase the lifespan of our neglected roads.”
Looking forward, with the failure of Measure B — the half-cent sales tax dedicated to Turlock roads — in November 2014, Soiseth has said he will be fighting for local roads through a regional approach, most likely in the way of a Stanislaus County-wide sales tax. The funds from the countywide tax would be divided all around the area, so not all will come to Turlock.
“While some road repair measures seem small, I'm also working diligently as a member of StanCOG to put forward a county-wide road improvement measure that will fix both our city and county roads,” said Soiseth. “As a self-help county with access to millions of dollars of transportation dollars, this regional approach to road repair is the best possible solution for our city's roadways.”
A tax, of course, would still need to be approved by voters if Stanislaus County decides to move forward with it.
Turlock City Council will consider this budget change, as well as many others when they attempt to adopt the first-ever two year budget for 2015-16 and 2016-17 at the June 9 meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.