Many motorists complain about high fuel costs, including gasoline taxes, but at least some of the money spent will be returning to Mount Airy to aid street and sidewalk improvements.
The city’s annual allocation of Powell Bill funds — announced each October — has increased slightly as a direct result of gas purchases in the city.
In the latest round of funding, Mount Airy is tapped for a total allocation of $328,901, compared to 319,738 in 2011.
Powell Bill funds are derived from gasoline tax revenues and sent from the state government. They are designated for road and sidewalk improvements on streets that are maintained by the city.
Unlike last year, however, when the city commissioners voted to spend $261,080 to repave streets in the Hollyview Forest community which had been disturbed as a result of annexation in 2007, no big-ticket item is eyed for the funding.
“Mainly this year, we’re planning on regular supplies, sidewalk replacement and street repairs,” city Public Services Director Jeff Boyles said Friday. Supplies of chemicals that might be needed for snow removal during the winter also will be acquired with Powell Bill monies, Boyles said.
“There’s no street-resurfacing project this year.”
Other repaving, such as that recently occurring on routes including North Main Street and U.S. 601, is handled differently since they are state-maintained.
With the Hollyview Forest work making a dent in the allocation last year, Boyles explained that in addition to meeting present supply needs the recently allocated Powell Bill funding will go toward major work in the future.
“We’re setting money aside to build the funds back up so we can have a decent-size project in the coming years,” Boyles said.
While there are individual streets in need of resurfacing, completing such smaller projects is not cost-effective, he added.
That seemed to be the philosophy in 2008 when Mount Airy officials used nearly $300,000 in Powell Bill funds to resurface eight streets.
State law requires that Powell Bill funds be used only for maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing or widening of local streets that are the responsibility of a municipality or for planning, construction and maintenance of bikeways or sidewalks along public streets and highways.
For each taxed gallon of motor fuel sold in the city limits during the most recent fiscal year, 1.75 cents was earmarked to make up Mount Airy’s share of Powell Bill funds.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.