(Juneau) Efforts to remove $9-million-dollars in borrowing for road repairs was voted down by the Dodge County Board during their 2022 budget discussions Tuesday. The board approved borrowing the same amount last year to upgrade 25 miles of roadway. A recent Dodge County Highway Department survey saw around 40-percent of the population in favor of spending the $18-million-dollars for roads, the highest percentage among four options given. The reason the borrowing was split over a two year period was due to a lack of companies available at the time to do the work.
The amendment to remove borrowing for roads in the 2022 budget was introduced by Supervisor Kira Sheahan-Malloy. She says many constituents are against the idea. Sheahan-Malloy adds the board needs to find the money to pay for road construction in the $168-million-dollar budget.
Supervisor Jeff Caine says current interest rates for borrowing are lower than the rate of inflation, meaning taxpayers will be saving money over the long term. He says based on a 2.7-percent inflation rate and a point-seven-eight-percent interest rate the county would save approximately $1,435,970 by borrowing now.
Dodge County Highway Commissioner Brian Field says the county should be repairing at minimum 22 miles of roadway a year. He says that is needed to manage the 450 mile county highway system with a 25 year pavement life cycle. Field adds that the county has historically come very short of that goal.
The county board still needs to approve the issuance of the $9-million-dollars in bonds and their sale at future meetings. If passed, Field says roughly 33-miles of roads will be repaired in 2022.