The Rio Rancho Governing Body’s resolution to maintain city roads with surplus general fund revenues is not only achievable, said one representative from the public works department this week, but could help boost all city roads to “good” or “satisfactory” ratings within the next 10 years.
Public Works Director Matthew O’Grady and City Manager Keith Riesberg presented two funding options for road repair projects to city councilors during Tuesday’s governing body work session. Mayor Gregg Hull and District 6 councilor Dave Bency were absent.
Last June, the governing body unanimously adopted a resolution that would provide unanticipated general fund revenues at the end of a fiscal year to be allocated to the city’s paved road repair fund.
According to the resolution, 70 percent of the surplus revenue would be distributed to fund road repairs, 20 percent to city equipment replacement and 10 percent to address the city’s information technology needs. The resolution also requires the governing body to have funding to hire and equip a paved road repair crew in the city’s budget and general fund five-year financial plan by fiscal 2019.
O’Grady’s presentation focused on the first half of the resolution, detailing the public works department’s plans for road repairs.
“The most cost-effective plan, by far, is through preventative maintenance,” O’Grady said. “When we have a road in good condition, we want to keep it in a good condition – extend the life of that road longer. Generally a road lasts about 20 years; our goal would be to double that with routine maintenance.”
Preventative maintenance would be prioritized for roads based on a set of criteria, O’Grady said, which would consider general health and safety concerns, coordination with the city’s utilities plans and the road’s average volume of traffic.
Two funding options for the surplus funds were presented to the governing body: spend the funds on contract work or invest the funds in city equipment and supplies.
For example, O’Grady cited four recent road improvement projects – on 4th Street, Ashkirk Loop, Dundee Way and Concord Hills – that cost the city $891,266 in contract work for 1.56 miles of repair. For less than $840,000, O’Grady said, the city’s existing staff could use new equipment for up to 22 miles of the same type of road repairs.
The public works department road rating system would be the key factor as to what roads would receive repairs: roads ranked “good,” “satisfactory” and “fair would be eligible for routine maintenance and surface treatments; “fair,” “poor” and “very poor” roads would receive crack-fills and patch work similar to the recent Sara Road reconstruction project; and “serious” and “failed” roads would be reserved for reconstruction projects, reserved for general obligation bond projects.
With plans to crack and slurry-seal roads three to four times every 20 years, O’Grady said the department’s aggressive maintenance plans would require a reliable funding source.
“If we’re going to hit that road three times, the money has to be there in order to do that work. If it’s not there, the road degrades,” he said.
A formal resolution recommendation is expected to be introduced at an upcoming regular governing body meeting.