LIMA — The Allen County Engineer’s Office reviewed $1.7 million in county, township and municipal road improvements at an annual road program meeting Wednesday.
Allen County Engineer Timothy Piper noted an 8 percent increase in taxpayer funding, up from $1.5 million in improvements in 2012. In an effort to improve more roads across the county, the bigger focus in 2013 is going to be resealing roads, rather than repaving them.
“Tar and chip is about one-fifth of the cost of paving,” Piper said. “It puts a surface coat and tar and stone on top of the road and keeps the water out of it.”
The cost of paving has nearly tripled since 2002, he said. Then, it cost almost $24,000 to pave one mile of road 20 feet wide. In 2012, it cost more than $65,000 per mile.
And because much of the funding comes from fuel taxes, Piper is pushing for municipalities to receive more money from the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax.
“The state is basically taking $140 million from the CAT tax and has not shared it with the local government,” Piper said. The Ohio Commercial Activity Tax includes $140 million in motor fuels.
“We’re making a case that because 83 percent of the roads are either county, township or municipal … and 68 percent of the bridges are either county, township or municipal, that money should be split equally the way the rest of the gas tax is,” Piper said.
Bath Township Trustee Roy Hollenbacher said the strained funding has been an ongoing problem.
“We’re always limited in the roads that we want to do,” Hollenbacher said. He added it’s particularly been an issue in the last 6 to 8 years.
In Bath Township, Springbrook Drive is the only road being repaved with taxpayer dollars. The remainder of the projects are resealing roads. The Springbrook Drive repaving project is almost 1/4 of a mile.
Dick Shafer, who’s been a Monroe Township trustee for 28 years, said roads have been an issue for everyone.
“Our roads are deteriorating,” Shafer said. “We spend less on roads today than we did 28 years ago.”
There were 26.2 miles of roads paved in Allen County in 2012; most individual road paving projects span less than 1/10 of a mile. In 2013, there will be 14.2 miles of roads paved.
Fifty-six miles of roads will be resealed this year, compared to 38.1 miles in 2012.
An additional 12.37 miles of township roads will be paved with federal funding. Those roads were not listed in the county project report.
Allen County Commissioners will decide Wednesday during their weekly meeting whether to approve the road projects. From there, road crews can begin to make their improvements.