To the Editor,
This is in regards to the Daily Press article about street paving and drainage improvement.
I would like to more accurately state what the objectives are in the petition presented to City Council Sept 28.
The primary issue of the petition was to have council explore options to purchase the required land to make Steele Street full width. We accomplished this. The other part of the petition stated that "once the purchase price is decided on it would make it far easier to determine shares of the cost of further improvement such as curb gutter or paving." This is with the assumption that the First Christian Church would be willing to apply this amount to improve the road in the 400 Block of Steele. This is the highest traffic area on this street according to the city's survey. We were very clear that the 300 block was not interested in improvement if it cost. If this scenario works out, that would be nearly 100 percent of the 400 block in favor of improvement.
Since the petition was not read at the Council meeting, perhaps what we were trying to accomplish may not have been clear to the audience. For that matter I wondered later if Council had read the petition. The people that live on Steele have been told by the city that without this width they will not consider any improvement. There were also some inaccurate statements by the Daily Press as to what was said at this meeting.
This is what I read, and clearly stated were my opinions and no on else's. I stated that "other streets within the city are without curb, gutter, or drainage and have passed the test of time. There are thousand of miles of paved roads within Moffat County that have no curb, gutter or drainage. Steamboat Springs and Hayden have virtually paved all city streets. Nearly the only area of curb and gutter in these communities is where U.S. Highway 40 passes through."
This issue is clearly one that affects the whole city and certainly those that live on dirt streets. I refer to the Daily Press article, "Preparing for Growth, Quality of life top list of City Goals. " "Several Studies listed cleanliness and community beautification as necessary for economic development."
Something that I simply do not understand is the opposition the city has expressed in the past. This street and others like it should have been improved long ago.
If I may refer to the quote by Sherman Romney in the Daily Press article "these roads do belong to the city, we own them and we have the right to do anything we please." I would like to think that what Sherman meant was that they could be improved if the city so desired.
I was told that some residents of Hayden were unhappy that they didn't get curb and gutter with the new paving. If they had to pay for these improvements I think they may have felt differently. Hayden's street improvement were done from the general fund, why not do the same here?
I don't want to sound critical of our city officials. As a matter of fact, I would commend Jim Ferree and Bill Early for sticking to what they feel is right for the long-term improvements. The thing is, is it better to have curb, gutter and paving vs. paving only? Of course. If you can't afford curb and gutter is it better to have pavement than dirt? I think so.
The way the city wants to do this improvement the cost will be over $200,000. That means that for the average property owner there will be an increase to their property tax of $600 to $1,000. This means for my home I will go from $500 to $1,100 per year for a period of 10 years. Even with this the conditions are so bad on this street we are willing to do this if it's the only way.
What we are asking the City Council to do is explore every option to improve the conditions in our community without causing anyone undue financial hardship.