City focuses on growth in north Victoria as budget talks open

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

June 24, 2013 at 1:24 a.m.
Updated June 25, 2013 at 1:25 a.m.

Growth in North Victoria could dictate the way the city council prioritizes the annual budget.

Victoria Fire Chief Taner Drake and Public Works Director Lynn Short explained Monday evening the cost of providing fire service and streets to an expanding population.

Where the sixth fire station is planned, on an extension of Ball Airport Road that has not been built, Drake said already 1,778 buildings and nearly 200 homes have gone up.

"And it grows probably every week as new homes are completed out in those areas," Drake said.

The fire station is estimated to cost $2.32 million of the proposed $49 million General Fund budget.

City Manager Charmelle Garrett said the budget process starts in January for staff.

"We have to balance the needs of the city as a whole," she said. "There's not a lot of wish items. It's a maintenance budget."

Short's budget for the public works department included street maintenance projects totaling $2 million.

Tuesday evening, Short will present his proposals for major infrastructure projects.

"A big part of the street department budget is always street reconstruction," Short said.

Along with the street condition, Short also considers the utilities underneath.

"If the funding isn't available to do the utility work, we'll jump over that section until we find funding for the utilities," Short said.

He said the city needs to be more aggressive with street reconstruction, but the lack of funding is to blame. Utility projects are paid from the $25 million water/wastewater fund.

The newest councilman, Dr. Andrew Young, said the city is seriously behind on residential streets.

"We've got a lot of work to be done there," he said. "It seems streets were put off and neglected. Now, there's a lot of catch up that needs to be done."

The City Council has not decided how to move forward with prioritizing the remainder of the downtown renovation project in South Victoria with the Mallette Drive reconstruction in North Victoria.

Young said he needed more information before deciding between the projects.

Young acknowledged that the maintenance work is set largely for the northern half of Victoria while other streets with century-old utilities underneath go ignored.

The Woodway and Bridle Ridge subdivisions are set to see more than $1.1 million in repairs.

"Yes, there are roads much worse off than Woodway," he said. "They're just very, very expensive. It doesn't mean it's less important."



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