Saturday, February 21, 2004

Clermont request: $5.5M for roads



By Anna Michael
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - Clermont County Engineer Patrick Manger is asking the county commissioners for about $5.5 million for capital road improvement projects from 2006 through 2010.

"Historically, all we have had enough to do was replace bridges, resurface roads and maintain roads," Manger said. "Our revenue wasn't enough to do anything but maintain systems."

Manger said if the money is allocated to him, the annual $1.1 million would be put toward widening Mount Carmel-Tobasco Road from Clough Pike to Old Ohio 74, widening Aicholtz Road, improving Clough Pike from Mount Carmel-Tobasco to Glen Este-Withamsville Road and improving the Stonelick-Olive Branch interchange with Ohio 32.

Manger was asking for funds at a meeting with commissioners Wednesday because his current capital budget is fairly set.

"The commissioners have an existing ($3 million) commitment that runs through end of '05," Manger said.

Commissioner Bob Proud said later that the board is willing to help, "but we told him not to anticipate us kicking in a million dollars every year."

The engineer's office has $2.4 million available for this year's capital improvements.

One million dollars of that is going to county road resurfacing, while the rest is being split up among road improvements, engineering and surveying, bridge repairs and miscellaneous capital expenses.

The 2004 projected revenue for the office is about $9.1 million.

In addition to the $2.4 million allocated for capital improvements, about $3.4 million will go to salary and fringe costs, $1.2 million to debt payments and about $2 million for maintaining roads and buying materials and services.

Ninety percent of the $9.1 million generated by the engineer's office was from license registration fees and the gas tax.

Three years ago a $5 fee was added to the license registration cost which goes completely to maintaining bridges.

Manger said he does not rely on the general fund to run his day-to-day operations but he asked the commissioners for the $5.5 million to cover the county's needs that his office cannot afford.

Commissioners did not vote on the request Wednesday.

E-mail amichael@enquirer.com




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