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Republican and Democratic Chairmen Supporting Vernon Road Bond Issue

They have released a joint statement in anticipation of the Jan. 28 referendum.

Thompson Street in Rockville  is one road in dire need of repair. Photo Credit: Chris Dehnel
Thompson Street in Rockville is one road in dire need of repair. Photo Credit: Chris Dehnel
The chairmen of the town's Democratic and Republican town committees on Tuesday released a joint statement supporting the $27.65 million road maintenance bond ordinance up for a vote on Jan. 28.
 
A yes vote at the referendum would allow the town to establish - and pay for - a six-year maintenance project that would repair - and in some case reconstruct - more than 200 streets. 

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Bill Dauphin and Republican Town Committee Chairman Harold "Hal" Cummings released the statement Tuesday night. 

It reads: 

"We urge Vernon voters to approve the proposed road improvement bond issue at referendum on Jan. 28. This investment in our roads will improve safety and save wear and tear for every vehicle that travels them.

"The roads must be maintained, and if we defer this work, it will only end up costing us more in the long run. The time is now to invest in our town’s future.

"Please vote yes on January 28." 

Dauphin and Cummings both said the statement was from both chairmen and not an implication that both parties were formally endorsing positive votes. 

Voting is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. All districts will vote at Center 375, located at 375 Hartford Turnpike - Route 30. 

Absentee ballots are available at the town clerk's office. 

For an explanation of the project, visit: 

http://www.vernon-ct.gov/files/Explanatory_Text_ROADS_2014.pdf

To review the ordinance, visit: 

http://www.vernon-ct.gov/files/ORDINANCE_Road_Improvements_2014_FINAL_FINAL.pdf

For a look at a power point presentation on the project, visit:
 
http://www.vernon-ct.gov/files/Jan_28_2014_ROAD_IMPROVEMENTS_FINAL_Adj_notes.pdf

The Town Council formally approved the plan on Oct. 15.

Treasurer and Finance Director James Luddecke said it is the first bond issue to come before townspeople since 2008, when $1.18 million was borrowed to help fund the Phoenix Street Bridge project.

Public Works Director Robert Kleinhans called the project, "New approaches to an old problem." It includes 219 roads, town officials said. 

Here is an outline of the reasoning behind the proposal from DPW officials: 

• Town roads need an organized plan for their improvements and maintenance and funding. 

• Currently, $100,000 or less of the Annual Town Aid for Roads grant is allocated to road repairs. 

• Local budget road funds have ranged from $30,000 to $50,000 annually for asphalt purchase. 

• The 2013 Road Bond Project with reconstruction, rehabilitation and pavement preservation practices will bring more than 200 roads to "a maintainable standard."

Kleinhans said the goals include:

• Providing a "safe drivable surface" to as many roads as possible. 

• Keeping good pavements in good shape and prolong their lives.  

• Reducing "payment life cycle costs."  

Kleinhans said the "planned preservation program" is needed because: 

• Planned preservation saves money. Routine preservation costs less than deferred repairs. 

• The full cost of preserving one lane-mile in good condition over time is less than half of the cost of letting an identical lane-mile deteriorate to poor condition and then making major repairs. 

How were road conditions assessed? 

• Two members of the DPW attended the Technology Transfer Center at the University of Connecticut for education and training regarding road maintenance and improvements. • An experienced DPW Truck driver then conducted a physical survey of all local roads. 

• The data was entered into "Road System Management Software I" obtained from the UConn T2 Center. 

• Pavement preservation techniques were then assigned to each road based on review of the right treatment for the right road at the right time. 

• Data was input on costs per road mile for the appropriate treatments. 

• Road Bond 2013 cost projections were determined with the RSM Software. 
The methods the would be used to address road conditions are: 

1.  Reconstruction.
2. Reclaim and pave the surface.
3. Cold in-place recycling of the road materials.
4. Milling/paving.
5. Overlay.
6. Shim/chip sealing.
7. Chip/cape sealing.
Bert January 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM
It is so good to see the Democrat and Republican chairmen agreeing on something. It shows me that both are thinking, rational men who understand the issue. Credit also goes to the DPW for taking advantage of new technology and creative thinking to address an ever-present problem with some long-term solutions. Passing this is good for everyone.
Bob January 22, 2014 at 03:30 PM
A road lasts between 5 and 10 years before it needs work, yet we are going to issue 20 year bonds to pay for it? what about ten or fifteen years from now when all the roads need to be repaired again, but we are still paying for the 2014 bond? It doesn't take a financial genius to see where that road ultimately leads. This plan makes no sense at all and only serves to create a huge slush fund that will be susceptible to fraud and waste. I would rather see the town implement a 'temporary' (if such a thing exists in government taxation) $1 per thousand property surtax that raises a portion of the total each year, and have that raised money allocated and used (with prohibitions on any other use) in a 'pay as you go' manner with the worst roads getting the attention first. If nothing else it will allow the citizens of Vernon to avoid paying between 5 and 6.75% interest on more than 20 million of debt--the interest payment alone would fix a few roads. I am voting no and insist that alternative be explored. Shame on Vernon for allocating less than 100k a year for road maintenance and then insist that, because of their poor planning and use of funds, the taxpayers need to bail them out with a boondoggle bond issue. Meanwhile, how much do we pay annually for the school system? It not much good if you don't have roads to transport people to them!
Bert January 22, 2014 at 05:22 PM
Vernon spends more than 100K per year on roads. There is LOCIP grant money used that Bob is not considering. This program is the beginning of a managed maintenance program - a longterm approach that will not allow roads to decay in 5 to 10 years. I also question the interest rates that he quotes.
John Dolle January 22, 2014 at 07:49 PM
I live on Talcott Avenue and drive the street in Rockville daily and many of the streets are not as bad as they are mentioned to be. These streets have not been repaired for decades and are in good shape. It seems that the assessment that these road are deteriorating in 5 to 10 years is not that entirely accurate. Carl Shaefer has a good point
Edie Chernack January 23, 2014 at 06:54 AM
I live on a road that was suppose to be repaired with the last road bond. According to former Mayor McCoy, the money ran out before they got to the final phase, which is the phase my neighborhood was in. I've had town police and town council members tell me over the years that my road was the worst in town. It has not been repaired in over 40 yrs. They are now putting in sewers and paving parts of the road, but it's not much more than a skim coat and only the sections where they laid pipes, which is spotty, yet my neighborhood is not on the list for this bond. My concern is that this bond will go the way of the last one...the money will run out before the roads are done. I also question what options are available that would not cause our taxes to go up when it comes time to pay the money back with interest. And how do we know the money won't be diverted to other projects?

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