Road department needs proper funding this year

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If we’re going to keep our roads and bridges running, we’re going to have to have more revenue.

So says Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver.

And this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

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The county engineer has been warning commissioners, taxpayers and anyone who would listen that the road department simply cannot continue to operate without additional revenue sources. What’s worse, without additional funding sources the count could stand to lose $773,000 in federal and state matching grants for much needed road repairs and projects.

And that leaves county commissioners with some difficult decisions ahead.

As commissioners begin the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, top among their priorities needs to be properly funding the road department. Safe, well-maintained and passable roads and bridges are among the most basic of services a county should be expected to provide to its citizens. For too many years, Pike County has limped along, making due with patches and repairs and meting out its meager funds in the road department, meanwhile granting employees annual cost of living pay increases and increasing travel budgets for commissioners.

While commissioners have made strides in reducing debt and managing the budget, they have failed to address this most basic of needs at the road department, and it’s time for that to change.

So we can, as Mr. Oliver said, “keep our roads and bridges running.”