by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Durand City Council had a preliminary discussion during its Tuesday, Aug. 9 Special Meeting about potentially asking for a street millage on the November ballot. The council discussed two options, both of which would include re-paving every paved street in the city, while the second option also included adding sidewalks to adjoin every city street that does not currently have them. The city currently levies two mills for city streets, and the proposed street project would require an additional four mills, bringing the total city street millage to six mills.
City Manager Amy Roddy pointed out that the city’s four-mill water levy will be dropping off the books following this year, so the added street millage would not raise taxes. The total cost of re-paving every street in Durand has been explored and would be in the ballpark of $6 million.
The second option, which would also include adding sidewalks to those city streets that do not currently have them, would require an additional .4 mills, or approximately $500,000, bringing the total street millage to 6.4 mills. This proposal would also mean special assessments for those city residents who would be receiving sidewalks on their properties, though city attorney Charles McKone said Tuesday that the city and the residents would be splitting the cost of the added sidewalks, with residents being given the opportunity to repay their portion over a number of years.
Though this was a preliminary discussion, the council seemed to agree that splitting the street and sidewalk projects into two ballot questions would be the best option. That way, if residents did not feel like voting to add sidewalks, it would not necessarily jeopardize the passage of the street millage. The council has talked for a long time about creating a walkable city, and council members have also stressed the need for sidewalks to ensure the safety of the city’s residents, especially the students who walk in the streets on the way to school in the neighborhood near Robert Kerr Elementary.