Roads, who do we believe?
November 2, 2012
OPINION By GARY NEMETH
The Paso Robles City Council and Manager Jim App have told us for years that there is no road repair fund.
Last week I was in a meeting with Councilman Fred Strong and seven other people. Mr. Strong said that we did not have a road repair maintenance program. The standard answer was the state took away the gas tax. The state helped pay for work on Vine Street and I asked if the highway users tax account was used? Strong said “no that stopped several years ago.”
I then informed Strong that he needed to get with App to get their stories straight as App had sent a memo out last week stating the following:
“More and more of late, folks are quoting me as saying that the city has no road repair budget. I may have said that – at one time. But it is no longer accurate.”
A few months ago I was attending a Saturday meeting the council held stating how broke the city is. They needed money for the roads. Both Mayor Duane Picanco and Nick Gillman stated they had been out talking to groups of citizens who said they would not vote for a sales tax that went to the general fund because they did not trust this council.
An advisory vote was 5-0 for a specific sales tax that would go to roads and police/fire. Now we find out this council wants us to pass a sales tax that will go to the general fund.
When did the council know they had the money for road repairs? Was it known before the idea of the sales tax and the ex-chief payout to leave? Some of the Vine Street money came from this same highway users tax account several years ago.
Strong must have forgotten that in September 2012 he voted to spend money from this account on roads. The record reveals the highway users tax account from the State of California in the amount of $1,316,463; Reconstruct 21st Street ($2.7 Million). App said he expects that next year the city will be able to allocate at least another $700,000 for road repairs (from gas tax funds – provided the state continues to pass them along).
So, there is in fact a “budget” for road repairs.
It is time to bring back integrity and trust into City Hall, I have built a reputation on those very basic core concepts that seem to be missing. I ask you to write in Gary Nemeth for mayor of Paso Robles.