Residents had the opportunity to sound off and ask questions Tuesday night regarding a proposed 8-mill levy to fund road improvements.
Riverside city officials hosted a public meeting to discuss the levy, which will appear on the November ballot. According to city officials, the 8-mill continuous levy would generate about $1.9 million annually for the city to use on road repairs.
The 8-mill levy breaks down to about $280 per year per $100,000 in appraised property value, according to city manager Mark Carpenter.
City leaders and residents we spoke with said they believe the repairs are greatly needed.
“We need new roads, and someone’s going to have to pay for it, so we might as well just pay for it,” said April Franklin, who lives in Riverside.
Franklin said she supports the levy – as long as the road repairs made are promised to be long-lasting.
But others are concerned about the levy.
“Coming at us with an 8-mill levy I feel is kind of exuberant,” said John Bragg, another Riverside resident.
Bragg said he believes an 8-mill levy is too much money. He said he wants the city to find other ways to fund the repairs. He suggests the city sell off the office complex it owns on Springfield Street where city administrative offices are located.
“They were saying that it would increase the value of my house by having new streets,” Bragg said. “But somebody’s also going to look at my house and see how much that I’m paying or that house is paying in property taxes.”
The city is collecting other forms of funding, including state grants, Carpenter said. There is at least $75 million worth of roadwork that needs to be done citywide, he added.
“If we could generate $2 million with 2 mills, that’s what we would do,” Carpenter said. “But it’s the dollar amount that’s what we need.”
If the levy fails, the city can still use $350,000 already set aside by city council for road improvements next year, but that would not fund as many repairs, Carpenter said.
The city has another public meeting set up to discuss the levy. That’s set for October 25 at 6 p.m. at Brantwood Elementary School.