Task force gets to work on road funding | RecordCourier.com

Task force gets to work on road funding

by Sheila Gardner
sgardner@recordcourier.com


County road department workers check the road striper equipment after working on Centerville Lane in this 2013 photo.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

ROAD FUNDING

TASK FORCE

Rob Anderson

John Benzing

Scott Brooke

Terry Burnes

Bob Cook

Jeremy Davidson

Fred Farley

John Hamer

Jeri Johnson

Larry Lippman

Ron Lynch

Lynn Muzzy

Rick Ross

Jill Ruble

Larry Walsh

Once a month, a group of 15 residents puts their heads together to work on solutions for Douglas County’s worsening road problems.

They are members of the Road Funding Task Force, a group organized by County Manager Steve Mokrohisky, and based on a model used in 2009-10 when the county’s airport ordinance was passed by voters.

Mokrohisky said he was looking for a diverse group of county residents who were interested in reaching a solution.

“The group is a combination of people who expressed interest, some were recommended, and I reached out and asked some to join,” Mokrohisky said.

“We wanted to make sure we had all the stakeholders represented,” he said. “I kept asking, ‘Is everyone here?’”

The county manager said he wanted problem-solvers.

“What I said to the task force is, ‘Here’s what we’re coming together to do. Let’s find a solution,” Mokrohisky said.

The issue is that Douglas County needs to identify approximately $4 million per year in additional funding to maintain county roads at their current level. In addition, the county is faced with approximately $50 million in road maintenance backlogs.

The goal is two-pronged: Identify the most viable and appropriate sources of funding, and gain public support for implementation.

The task force will advise Mokrohisky who will report back to the board of commissioners with recommendations.

Mokrohisky said he doesn’t know what the task force will recommend.

“There is no silver bullet to fix this problem,” he said. “There is no one tax. A shift of $4 million to $5 million is not without pain.

Mokrohisky spent the first two task force meetings explaining the history of the road tax in Douglas County and how the county general fund works.

A series of workshops is proposed for the fall throughout the community, Mokrohisky said. Additional public outreach effort could include online surveys, meetings with service groups, businesses and other stakeholders.

“It’s a very good group,” Mokrohisky said. “It’s a strong representation of the community at-large. I am excited to see where it goes. I have faith in the process, faith in the people brought to the table, and faith in the community.”