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Date of Issue: July 14, 2005

CIAC: borrow money for roads

Anna Maria's capital improvements advisory committee has repeated its often-told advisory to the city commission concerning needed road improvements in the city: "Prices will never be cheaper, so borrow the money now."

At its June 27 meeting, the committee agreed to recommend to the commission that it fund $1.6 million in needed road repairs in the 2005-06 budget.

"Do the projects now by borrowing the money because prices won't be any cheaper," said CIAC chairman Larry Albert.

Indeed, the average cost of any capital improvement project is increasing by about 8 percent annually, said Tom Wilcox of Baskerville-Donovan Inc., the city's engineering firm.

And the $1.6 million cost for the 12 projects on the 2004-05 CIAC priority list is just an estimate. That $1.6 million will be about $1.73 million in 2005 dollars.

Committee member Bill Snow noted the price increases every year.

But the commission has been consistently reluctant to borrow any money for capital improvement projects, rejecting a line of credit, bond issue and other financing measures.

Albert said the city could just patch the roads on the priority list, but even that will take about $100,000. The commission has earmarked $200,000 for capital improvements in the upcoming budget hearings, but that money is slated for drainage projects, not road repairs.

Patching, said Snow, is just a temporary solution. It doesn't solve the problem, it just makes it go away for a year or two.

Albert said the commission should do all the requested road repairs under one contract to get the best price. Most paving contractors don't want to come to Anna Maria for just a small job.

"It should be a 'no-brainer,'" he said. "I just don't understand it. We go through this every year."

The roads in most need of major repairs, in no particular priority order, are:

  • Blue Heron Drive, 630 feet.
  • Palmetto Avenue, 1,002 feet.
  • Kumquat Drive, 693 feet.
  • Seagull Way, 325 feet.
  • Gulf Boulevard, 290 feet.
  • Newton Lane, 235 feet.
  • Sycamore Avenue, 610 feet.
  • Jacaranda, 3,36 feet.
  • South Drive, 552 feet.
  • Bay View Place, 540 feet.
  • North Shore Drive, 8,430 feet.
  • Crescent Drive, 2,900 feet.