Letter: Des Moines road maintenance suffering

Having been on the Des Moines City Council in 1994-1995 and now again starting in January of 2012, I see big differences in the funding available to provide city services.

The city of Des Moines has cut back on parks and police a little, but has not been maintaining the roads for the last four years.

By maintaining, I mean doing pavement overlays, which not only make the roads easier to drive on, they extend the life of the road at a fraction of the cost of building a new one. (We have continued to fix potholes.) There has not been sufficient money in the budget to do any road overlays for four years.

The deteriorated roads are a pain for citizens and they also discourage development, which could bring in additional tax dollars to restore some city services.

Tax cutting initiatives, a bad economy, and state transfers of city money to the state have left some cities in a pickle to deliver basic services.

I think there will be requests to the voters to restore some of this funding on the ballot soon. (Normandy Park already had their vote.) I hope everyone will realize we are just trying to get back closer to where we were before the decreases. Our costs have risen as the federal and state governments put tons of new requirements on cities as well.

I invite people to let me, or the council as a whole, know what you think. Are there things you think we should cut? Are you willing to pay some additional utility tax to get the overlay pavement for city roads?

Jeanette Burrage
Des Moines City Councilmember

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