(These comments were addressed to the two new Clarkston City Council members, Bruce Fuller and Laura Rodgers, at the November 22, 2021 council meeting.)
I am sure you recognize the city’s inability to maintain its sidewalks and streets.
The city faces significant financial challenges without a plan. Council has borrowed from its water and sewer funds and has approved the current budget which takes the fund balance to its minimum level. This current budget has one-fifth of the capital expenses budgeted compared to the previous budget.
Council has approved the budget with almost twice the amount for city hall furniture and city hall cosmetic fencing as included for repairing sidewalks. The situation will worsen depending on the Historic District Commission’s requirements for the city hall storage fencing design.
It will be three years at a minimum since the city last repaired sidewalks. The mayor guessed several months ago that $100,000 may be required and this was prior to identifying the need to repair/replace the seven brick paver aprons on Main Street. There is $8,000 in the current budget.
The city manager has not communicated the current inventory of sidewalk sections requiring repair. The 40 sections of broken Miller Road sidewalk are proposed to be replaced with blacktop if sufficient parking revenue is available for the 2022-23 budget and the city’s grant is approved to repair the west end of Miller Road.
Other than paid parking, the city has no plan to provide revenue to repair sidewalks and streets except for American Rescue Plan funds of $48,000 for 2021 communicated to be available this past August and an additional $48,000 for next year.
An update and a plan to discuss priorities publicly are past due.
The most recent Capital Improvement Plan includes projected expenses at double to triple the level of annual parking revenue.
As the newest council members, you are able to ask: ”Is this true?” “How did we get here?” and “What are the alternative solutions?”
I encourage you to meet with the city manager and the city treasurer who understand and can provide answers.