EAST PEORIA — It's nothing new.
For the third consecutive year, East Peoria expects to spend less than one-fifth of what it recently spent to repair and maintain its arterial, feeder and residential streets. In his quasi-annual inventory of the city's street maintenance needs, city engineer Patrick Meyer reminded the City Council that there exists about $40 million of road repair need.
The city has less than $400,000 in the proposed budget for street repair for 2018-19.
"Each year is a little worse," said Commissioner Dan Decker, who oversees the city's street maintenance program. "Each year we lose a little more ground."
It's why Decker supports the adoption of a half-cent sales tax increase, an issue that along with implementation of a fee to collect garbage, is currently under consideration by the City Council. The sales tax increase would raise enough money to plug this year's $500,000 deficit with money left over to begin to rebuild the city's all-but-depleted reserve fund and maybe pick up a capital expense or two. The sales tax hike would raise about $2.6 million annually.
"I'm not there on a garbage fee," Decker said after Tuesday's council meeting. "But a sales tax is a tax of choice."
Meyer explained the city's rating system for the condition of its streets. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being all but impassable and 10 being a near-perfect roadway, the city has about 35 streets that are at a 3 or below and 150 streets at a less-than-mediocre rating of 4.
"These all need to be addressed at some point," Meyer told the council.
In addition, Meyer described most of the city's main arterial roads, the essential by-ways that move motorists easily from Point A to Point B, as being in either "bad" or "average" condition.
"There are two parallel tracks that should be considered," Meyer said. "One is to maintain the major roadways and, in addition, the residential streets at the same time."
The city spent $2.5 million on street repair in 2009 and 2015. It spent $500,000 in 2016 and $340,000 last year.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.