Originally printed in the Dubois County Free Press, Letters to the Editor on January 27, 2017.
Every day we are charged with providing basic services to the citizens we serve. As the saying goes, we make sure the trains run on time.
In a city, that means, among many other things, striving to provide clean parks with programming our families want police and fire services that keep our community safe; clean water; and, roads and streets that are drivable, navigable and free of car-swallowing potholes.
We manage the provision of public services to provide the people who live and work in our cities with a high quality of life. We also do it to make our communities attractive to newcomers and the potential employers who look across our region.
Putting our community’s best foot forward doesn’t happen when we can’t maintain our most visible assets, our streets. Potholes get the most attention, but there is so much more that goes into maintaining our infrastructure than filling those winter pests. Also included are sealing cracks, curb maintenance, grinding, resurfacing, maintaining the right-of-way, and more.
When maintenance is no longer an option, it’s time to rebuild. Rebuilding a mile of two-lane road, which needs to be done every 20 to 30 years, costs about $2,000,000. Yes, that’s million. On average, our three communities have 57 road miles to maintain.
City governments have no choice but to do it all. We have no one to pass our work off to, nor do we want to. We want to be problem solvers, innovators and job creators. We want to get things done. In recent years we have tightened our belts to the last loop out of necessity but also because it’s the right thing to do. Our ability to do more belt-tightening and still fulfill our responsibilities to those we serve is getting harder as the cost of providing municipal services increases.
The majority caucus in the Indiana House of Representatives has proposed HB 1002, a comprehensive package that will for the first time in over a decade provide long-term assistance addressing local governments’ $1 billion annual road maintenance backlog.
Their leadership, should the measures pass in total, will make a real difference in our ability to create and maintain quality communities in Dubois County and all around the state of Indiana.
As stewards of local tax dollars, we see the citizens we serve at the grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and restaurants. We wouldn’t speak out in support of a revenue-raising proposal if we thought those dollars weren’t going to be used for the right purpose.
Building quality communities, starting with our infrastructure, is exactly the right purpose.
Mayor Terry Seitz, Jasper
Council President Ken Sicard, Ferdinand
Mayor and Accelerate Indiana Municipalities 2nd Vice President Denny Spinner, Huntingburg