Trenton voters to decide road levy request for significant upgrades

Trenton voters will decide next month if they want the city to do some significant road upgrades with a 3.9-mill road levy request.

The city of Trenton is the only jurisdiction in Butler County asking for new money this election, as the city council approved putting a 3.9-mill temporary levy on the Nov. 5 ballot earlier this year. Trenton Finance Director Mike Engel said the levy would cost $136 per $100,000 in home value.

Public Works Director Rob Leichman has said he hasn’t had money in his budget for repaving in four years and the streets need about $5 million worth of work, or $1 million per year.

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“We have not had any funding to pave roads in the last four years, zero, zilch,” he said. “And it’s not a one for one, the deal with roads is you try to catch them before they fail. You want to catch them in a mediocre range if you will.”

The city originally considered asking for a 6-mill levy, but when the state approved the 10.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike, the estimated $264,000 cash infusion, allowed the city to reduce the levy to 4.5 mills. City council also has pledged an estimated $90,000 in municipal motor vehicle license fees for paving, so the levy ask was reduced again.

The city did a road survey, and 5 percent are in poor condition with major work needed, and about 34 percent need to be milled and resurfaced. The rest need to be maintained so they don’t deteriorate.

City Manager Marcos Nichols said if the levy fails the city will still have increased gas tax and license fees for paving.

“With those revenue streams, that is what we would be resurfacing with,” Nichols said. “Ultimately we have to figure out if the levy passes, because that will dictate how we go forward with our road resurfacing in 2020.”

The city receives about $420,000 in fuel taxes now, and Leichman said that money has to pay for other things associated with the street department, like maintenance.

Nichols said there is a wealth of information on the city website and a fourth public information session is scheduled for Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 at city hall. The website is:

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