After three years of hanging onto the frayed budgetary end of its rope, Payson has finally resumed routine street maintenance.
When times were good and the budget flush, Payson resolved to spend about $500,000 annually to slap down a coat of slurry seal on its streets every seven years. That would effectively double the 20-year life expectancy of a residential street.
However, the Payson Town Council essentially cancelled such routine street maintenance for the past three years, as the recession dried up sales tax revenues.
But last week, the town council approved a $258,000 contract to put a coat of slurry seal on about six miles of street this year.
That’s only half the previous pace of road rejuvenation, but marks the first time in three years the council has felt like it had enough money to resume road maintenance.
The town put the project out to bid, but only got one reply — not unusual since not many contractors have the equipment to put down the coat of oil and tar needed to add a new surface to the road, restore the underlying asphalt and seal up cracks, said Payson Public Works Director LaRon Garrett.
Applying a coat of slurry seal costs about $2 per square yard, said Garrett. By contrast, just the concrete needed to rebuild a cracked and potholed road costs $20 a square yard.
The contract went to Southwest Slurry Seal Inc., which expects to coat the six miles of residential streets by the end of this month.
The streets treated will include McLane, Longhorn, Main, W. Country Club, Green Valley Parkway, Doll Baby Ranch Road, W. Locust Road, W. Laredo Loop, S. Lakeview Drive and Lakeview Circle, W. Green Valley Circle, S. Montana Circle and S. Country Club Lane.
The town’s capital improvement and street budget remain a shadow of the spending plan before the recession swallowed up the town’s reserves and forced furloughs and layoffs.
Garrett noted that the town still doesn’t have the money to resume any major street rebuilding projects, not even for badly deteriorated streets like Manzanita and Bonita.
In fact, the town was poised to rebuild and improve Bonita, when the state jerked back promised gas tax funds for the project.