Ridgefield allocates $1.84 million to road repaving projects

Among First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s budget thoughts is seeking to increase the $1,840,000 allocated to road repaving and other “infrastructure” work.

“We have a couple of areas we know we’re going to be asking the people for more money. One at the top of the list is our roads. And we’re looking at in the area of 17 miles of roads — about twice the amount we’ve paved in the past,” Marconi said.

“I think we have to put more money into our roads. I don’t think it has to be every single year, but the last time we had an increase was maybe four or five years ago, when we had a terribly rough winter,” he said. “ ... and it did a lot of damage to our roads.”

Having expressed concerns in recent years about the quality of the asphalt delivered to the town — the asphalt “not bonding properly” — Marconi is optimistic the asphalt problems have been straightened out.

“Over the last year or two we’ve seen an improvement there,” he said. “So we feel confident in requesting this amount from the people, to get caught up.”

Ridgefield has over 200 miles of roads to maintain.

“Some wear better than others, obviously, due to the amount of traffic and usage.”

Those tertiary roads are not as well traveled as some of our primary roads,” he said. “... Farmingville Road, Limestone Road, Barrack Hill— the main feeders into our state highway system in town.

“If we’re looking at Farmingville Road you’re lucky to get 10 years. But if you’re looking at a dead end road — like a cul de sac that’s a town road but there may be eight, ten houses, and that’s the only traffic — that road will hold up for a much longer period of time than Farmingville, Limestone or Barrack Hill, the more heavily traveled roads.”

One thought Marconi is toying with to keep the tax rate from increasing too much is moving some of the road work out of the annual operating budget and into the capital budget — where it used to be financed with borrowing.

“Do we revisit the possibility of a capital item for some of our roads, that we know we’re going to get 15 plus years out of, rather than putting everything into operating as we do now?” he asked.

“That way we are decreasing the impact on the mill rate for the next year, and spreading out the paying for the cost of paving our roads.”