Proposed bond referendum would fix roads if passed

Proposed bond referendum would fix roads if passed

GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - The Greenville City council recently discussed a proposed $20 million dollar bond referendum to put on the November ballot.

The money would fund repairs on certain city streets but that would mean a property tax increase for residents.

The proposed bond would raise property taxes 2 cents for every $100 in property value for 20 years until the bond was paid off.

When you ask people in Greenville if they are willing to pay more in taxes to fix the city roads the answers are as different as night and day.

"I mean I only drive 4 miles a day and I just don't want to have to pay more if I'm only driving that far," resident, James Litwin said.

"If they are going to do what they say they are going to do I would be willing to pay a little bit more," Deborah Anderson said.

Mayor Allen Thomas said that now is the time to fix the roads.

"If we are going to be a city that is going to have a strong economic foundation for the next 20 to 30 years, we have to place a priority on investing in our roads," Thomas said.

The mayor said in the past we have only been spending around $300,000 per year on upkeep. However, for a city the size of Greenville, that investment should be closer $1.5 million per year.

According to the mayor, of the 700 miles of roads in Greenville, 100 miles are within range of failure. If it gets to that point, then the cost to repair them increases.

"It costs around $100,000 a lane mile to repair a road. It cost a million dollars a lane mile to fix a failed road," Thomas said.

The people we talked to did not agree on how we should pay for the repairs, but they did find some common ground.

"Driving down all of sudden you are bumping up and down because of potholes everywhere," Litwin said.

"Fix the potholes and improve the roads absolutely and make them a little bit safer," Anderson said.

The city council will vote next month on whether or not they will put the referendum on the November ballot. If it passes, they plan to put information out there to inform the voters and let them decide if this the right move for the city.

Mayor Thomas said if passed, residents can expect to see major improvements to the roads starting in early 2015.

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