Taxes will go up for county’s roads

NORWICH – Lawmakers say its time to bite the bullet and budget next year for Chenango County’s highway road maintenance and equipment needs.

Tentative public works department budgets recently presented in two committees call for a local share increase of 9.3 percent for highway administration, maintenance and equipment. The budgets last year totaled approximately $9.5 million of the county’s $76 million annual budget.

“We’ve been cutting back every year. We’re going to have to bite the bullet on this,” City of Norwich Supervisor James J. McNeil said. Finance Committee Chairman Lawrence N. Wilcox, R-Oxford, repeated what town supervisors have been pointing out for years: “Nothing we do affects more people than the highways ... At least people know where their dollars are going.”

County leaders will tap into highway surplus for $862,000 as well as a set-aside machinery surplus fund for $500,000 over a five-year period.

Chenango County Public Works Director Randy Gibbon said the ideal amount for equipment needed to maintain the 63 miles of county roads would be close to a million dollars per year. He said the department had been spending less than half of that.

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