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  • Randy C. Lewis

2017 INDEPENDENT ROAD CONDITION REPORT EXPLODES THE COLLINWOOD/BETTER BOUNTIFUL MYTH

The sky is NOT falling! For over a year now, Dean Collinwood and the Better Bountiful political candidates have been telling residents that Bountiful’s roads are failing and are in terrible condition. An independent survey of every street in the city was conducted by the Utah Local Technical Assistance Program Center (LTAP), and the report was released to the City Council on September 27, 2017. The entire report is available to the public on Bountiful City’s website: www.bountifulcity.org. What the report shows, exactly contrary to Collinwood’s and Brent Hutchings’s wild claims, is that Bountiful’s roads meet current recommended standards. Zero percent of Bountiful’s 158-mile road network is at a “terminal serviceability” level. Compare that to Woods Cross at 3.4%. Or Kaysville at 0.2%. Or Layton at 0.2%. Or North Salt Lake at 2.2%. Bountiful roads in “Poor” condition are 16.7%. That’s the lowest percentage of the four Davis County cities surveyed. The others went from a low of 24.6% to 28.1%. In “Good to Excellent” condition, Bountiful is at 51.96%. North Salt Lake is at 58.2%. Kaysville is at 53%. Layton is at 28.6%. Woods Cross is at 44.2% The significant statistic out of all of this is what’s called “Remaining Service Life” (RSL) – the number of years to “terminal serviceability” – or “failing.” This is the road network report card that governs maintenance practices. LTAP concluded that “an effective preservation program is one that maintains an average RSL of ten years with not more than 3% of the street network at the terminal serviceability level.” Bountiful’s RSL is 10.61 years. Only Woods Cross is higher, at 10.87 years. Kaysville is at 9.55 years. Layton is at 9.16 years, and North Salt Lake is at 9.7 years. The independent LTAP Report is close to the findings of in-house studies performed by the Bountiful City Public Works Department. For the last five years, Bountiful has spent an average of $1.4 million annually on street maintenance. Beginning in this current fiscal year we have increased the street maintenance budget to $1.7 million. We plan to carry that spending level forward for at least the next five years. This funding increase was made possible when Davis County residents voted in 2014 to increase the local government portion of the motor fuel sales tax to help fund road maintenance. The City Council has put those tax dollars right to work for the intended purpose. Based on the LTAP Report, that level of annual funding should allow Bountiful to raise the average RSL to 11.52 years by 2022. What’s also VERY impressive about the LTAP report (and our in-house studies) is that we have a street-by-street assessment of what needs to be done, and when it needs to be done between now and 2022, and how we can pay for it without raising taxes. Our charge is to get this done right, and we are guided by the informed recommendations of engineering professionals, based on national standards. Hutchings has taken it upon himself to jump into City construction projects, at a danger to himself and our crews, to inspect their work and offer unsolicited advice that is way beyond his level of expertise. We really encourage residents not to do that kind of thing. There’s not a city in the nation that has universally pristine roads, and that’s certainly not the case in Utah. The wear and tear on roads is a product of our freeze and thaw cycle. It’s also a product of vehicle traffic and vehicle weight. Bountiful roads compare well, by any reasonable standard to roads in our neighboring cities. Collinwood and Hutchings say they’ll “double the road budget” if they get elected. As the LTAP Report shows, that’s not necessary. Of course, we can have 100% of our roads in pristine condition at all times. The only question is whether Bountiful residents want to finance that level of perfection. Collinwood and Hutchings don’t say how they’ll come up with a street budget to achieve the perfection they insist is necessary, but to double the street budget, they’ll have to either increase the city property tax by nearly 80%, or they have to cut budgets somewhere else. They could find the money by eliminating one-third of the Police Department, or they could eliminate the entire Parks Department AND the Planning Department. Their promises are political gimmicks, and they make no sense. If you combine this gimmick with Collinwood’s solar power subsidy gimmick, you’re looking at an annual property tax increase of 530%. As your fiscally conservative mayor, I believe YOU have better things to spend your money on. I’ll appreciate your vote for fiscal responsibility on November 6th – the mail-in ballot deadline! With sincere thanks, Mayor Randy Lewis

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