Sun. May 19th, 2024

Opinion and Commentary By Donna Westfall – March 22, 2024

We’re so excited to be seeing workers fixing potholes and doing repairs on our City streets.

Uh Oh! Got a report from a friend today that has property on “A” Street.  He said on Friday, March 15th they threw some asphalt in the holes and ran over them.  On Sunday, March 17th they were already coming apart.  That’s not good.  Don’t they know how to fix potholes? Let’s just concentrate on our City for purposes of this article.

Which leads me to more questions and complaints about all the taxes we pay, Federal, State and Local. Just check your DMV renewals.  Why are they going up instead of going down while your vehicle is another year older?  Who thinks up these things?  And there’s no end in sight. I wish I could deport the lot of them.  When will we ever get politicians in office that slash/cut/repeal some of these taxes?  It hasn’t done Gov. Newsom any good since he’s got a $73 BILLION deficit going on. Maybe if he started concentrating on the citizens of this State instead of the illegals we might turn that deficit around.

Besides Measure “S” (1% City Sales Tax), where does the money come from for road repairs?  I think the answer lies partially in the following:

The California Transportation Commission approved $3.3 million for Del Norte County.  Wondering if Crescent City received anything?

The approved funding is from federal and state gas taxes, including $800 million from Senate Bill 1 (SB1).

SB1 is the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.  Del Norte County was supposed to receive that money in 2020.

Even if we understand where the money is coming from, how on earth can our City ever complete the repairs in a reasonable length of time?  We’ve lived here for 17 years and I can’t see where they have made much progress in all that time. Fixing Front Street wasn’t high on my list of priorities.  Was it high on yours? What about Harding Street?  I understand that job isn’t holding up either.

What department is in charge of road repairs?

PUBLIC WORKS:

” The Public Works Department provides a wide range of essential community services that improve quality of life here in Crescent City.  Staff of this department are committed to making Crescent City a beautiful, livable and sustainable city.  The Department is divided into six main divisions:”

Here’s 1 division:

  • Field Operations, which includes, road maintenance, and utility maintenance

TO REPORT A PROBLEM CLICK  HERE or

  • Call (707) 464-9506 during normal business hours Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm. 
  • They are closed on Fridays.

Even if ALL of the $2 million or even $3 million brought in from sales tax each year is spent solely on road repairs, do you realize how many years it would take to get our roads in decent shape? Keep reading.

I attended the presentation by Lindsi Hammond, principal at GRI, a Portland-based engineering firm with an office in Brookings in October 2022.  I shared with her and the attendees that while living in Ojai (Southern California) I worked for Dynatest.  They manufacture pavement testing equipment for roads, highways and airports.  She was well aware of the company and impressed that I knew them.  In business for over 40 years, they have a worldwide presence and a great reputation.

She explained the PCI (pavement condition index) which grades the roads. In 2022 our grade was a weighted score of 64.  Meaning our overall road condition is in the fair category. 1/3 of our roads need surface treatment.  1/4 of our roads are in poor to very poor condition. She went over the budget citing that if the City increased their $250,000/year budget to at $1 million per year, our city would just be holding steady. After 5 years and $5 million the conditions of the roads in need of repair would jump to nearly $40 million. With inflation, thank to Pres Biden, I’m sure those figures have increased dramatically.  City Manager Eric Wier stated that if they could complete just one block per year it would take hundreds of years to get the roads in decent shape. 

Bottom line I don’t see Measure S monies going away any time soon. Even if it is repealed at the November 2024 ballot, the City will just try again. Perchance they might entertain cutting their salaries and expenses and paring down government?  I don’t think so. It’s not in their DNA.

One fellow out on “A” Street took a sack of cement years ago and patched a hole that had been neglected for years. It’s still holding up. Let’s call him the pothole vigilante.  Maybe we need more like him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *