COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2C Advisory Committee held its first quarterly meeting of 2017 Wednesday at City Hall in Colorado Springs to reflect on last year's accomplishments and look ahead to this year.
Committee members said they're pleased about the results of the five-year, voter-approved sales tax increase to generate $250 million for street paving.
The committee said through November 2016, the tax had accumulated $44.5 million and paving work had cost $39.6 million.
"It's a pay-as-you-go program," said Corey Farkas, manager of the city's Streets Division. "We're ahead of schedule and under budget with 229 lane-miles paved last year."
Committee members said they're especially happy with the cooperation among the city, paving contractors and Colorado Springs Utilities to make sure unrelated repair projects are finished before paving starts.
"What really impresses me is we didn't have one single paving project undone because we had to go back in and do some other infrastructure repair," said Merv Bennett, a committee member and City Council president. "Usually we have several when we're paving streets. "That's the kind of cooperation we should be proud of and brag about, quite frankly."
But Don Knight, another city councilman and committee member, asked Farkas if the paving still could be compromised in later years.
"Potentially, we could have a new business coming in and needing new utility lines," Farkas said. "We can't deny them that right. But we're discussing how to make sure any utility work for that purpose returns the pavement to a certain standard."
Farkas said he hopes to solve an unexpected issue from last year; long delays between finished paving jobs and striping, or marking, those streets.
"We've addressed that with our contractors," he said. "It's something we may not have full control over because there are only two stripers and they're in the Denver area. So it's hard to get them to come down here unless we can meet certain conditions regarding how much paving we've done. We're working on it and are shortening that delay."
Another successful part of the paving success, Farkas said, is having a certain amount of concrete preparation work -- upgrading curbs, gutters and sidewalks -- finished before paving begins.
"We're already 30 percent ahead for this year," he said. "Ideally, we'd like to have a year of concrete work done in advance.
The lane-miles paved last year represents only 4 percent of city streets, an indication of the size of and need for the project.
"I think after the five years are up, we're going to have to ask voters to renew the tax," Knight said. "There's still too much work that needs to be done."
Farkas hopes this year's paving will start in April.
We were two months behind last year because of a cool, wet spring," he said. "But we caught up later in the year because of warmer, drier weather."
For more information and to see this year's street paving list, visit: http://www.ColoradoSprings.gov/2C .