Brooksville City Council members agree that after years of neglect, the buck stops with them when it comes to bringing the city's streets up to acceptable standards.
However, doing so will cost a lot more than the city currently has budgeted for street and sidewalk maintenance, says the engineering company the city hired last year to assess the 39 miles of streets within Brooksville's boundaries.
"It's a mere drop in the bucket," Robert Titterington of Civil Tech Engineering told council members during a workshop Tuesday night. "It's a problem that needs both short-term and long-term solutions."
Titterington, who headed a $91,000 study that inventoried the condition of the city's transportation infrastructure, appeared before the council with a list of the neediest streets so council members could determine where best to put the city's limited resources. They quickly learned that the $300,000 set aside for maintenance and repairs this year won't go very far.
"The city has a cancer," Vice Mayor Kevin Hohn said. "There's no way to keep up with what's needed by spending what we spend now. Eventually, we'll be overwhelmed."
Hohn's colleagues agreed, saying Brooksville's long-neglected streets and sidewalks would eventually cost the city by stifling business and residential growth. All vowed to at least consider the possibility of a long-term bond issue to pay for the estimated $10.5 million in needed improvements.
Civil Tech's computer-generated analysis showed that less than 15 percent of the city's streets met national standards.
City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha said the money currently available will go toward upgrading streets that carry high volumes of traffic, including Veterans Avenue, from Broad Street to Jefferson Street; Brooksville Avenue, from Dr. M.L. King Jr. Boulevard to Russell Street; Decatur Avenue, from Dr. M.L. King to Lamar Avenue; Bell Avenue, from Broad to Jefferson Street; and Alabama Avenue, from Broad to Fort Dade Avenue.
Norman-Vacha said the city staff will look at several options to pay for a large-scale paving program. Any bond issue backed by property tax revenue would require voter approval, she said.