OV establishes street-repair fund

Ocean View Town Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday, with Mayor Gordon Wood abstaining and Councilman Bill Wcihmann dissenting, to “re-deploy” $450,000 from the town’s Emergency Reserve Trust Fund to establish the Street Repair and Replacement Fund. That would leave the Capital Replacement Trust Fund with $486,000 remaining.

Wood asked why drainage was not included in the areas covered by the new fund. He said street repair and maintenance could not be separated from drainage because the two were so closely related.

Councilman Bill Wichmann also asked why council needed to establish another fund instead of having such funds in “one big pot” and taking money out as needed.

Councilman Richard Nippes said that people were concerned about having money for street repairs, and having a fund set up for that purpose is “very comforting to most communities that, when they need it, their streets will be fixed and maintained.”

Resident – and declared candidate for Councilman Roy Thomas’ council seat – Jerry Mueller noted that good roads were certainly a benefit to residents of the town and that putting money aside in these economic times was especially important.

Wood asked about adding words to the ordinance creating the fund that would specifically address the drainage issue, to address the question of “when is it road-based drainage and drainage-drainage?”

Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader said adding or changing any words to specifically address or include “drainage” would mean having to re-start the public hearing process on the ordinance. He said the street-design ordinance covered some stormwater and erosion issues but something “strictly drainage” was not included in the proposed ordinance.

Thomas said that he didn’t believe it to be “mathematically possible” to include drainage in the fund because the money would be gone in less than two years.

“There has to be a source of funding,” said Thomas. “We can’t just say to create this because we have the need. It’s not possible.”

Thomas said the amount of the fund was based on the Kercher Engineering study done in the fall, which didn’t particularly look at drainage issues but rather simply road resurfacing and road maintenance.