St. Clair Council talks road improvements, tax increase

Council members Butch Kindsvater, Tom Foley and Mayor Bill Cedar discuss purchasing a crack seal machine on the city’s behalf during a special meeting Monday in St. Clair. (Tony Wittkowski | Times Herald)

Council members Butch Kindsvater, Tom Foley and Mayor Bill Cedar discuss purchasing a crack seal machine on the city’s behalf during a special meeting Monday in St. Clair. (Tony Wittkowski | Times Herald)

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

St. Clair council members were hesitant about deciding whether or not to purchase or lease a crack seal machine in its special meeting Monday.

With the continual deterioration of St. Clair roads, City Superintendent Mike Booth began looking at estimates for purchasing a crack seal machine for the city last month and presented those numbers to council.

A new unit would cost the city $48,000 while paying 52 cents per pound of material to fill cracks on local roads. The cheapest of the four used units that could be leased to the city would cost nearly $31,000 while paying 98 cents per pound for material.

Council unanimously passed a resolution in its regular meeting to put out a bid to purchase the crack seal machine after further discussion.

“The company I spoke to has one in stock, but if that were to be sold it would take another 60 days to have one ready for sale,” Booth said. “Last year we put down just under one pallet of material and ran out of material after sealing three streets.”

Booth said if the city were to lease the machine, city employees would be given a three-week period to use the material once the equipment was provided.

“I was told if you put down 10 pallets of material a year you should buy,” Booth said, “but I see us putting down maybe three this year.”

Council member Mike LaPorte was in favor of putting it up for bid because construction season was coming.

“Weather is starting to break and I would hate to waste any more time,” LaPorte said. “I’m told the machines are worth it. There is very little prep work, you just have to clean it up after you are done with it.”

Council member Butch Kindsvater said some of the roads are beyond repair and wouldn’t require crack seal, but would need to be reconstructed.

“There are a lot of roads in St. Clair that the machine isn’t even going to make an impact on,” he said.

Building Inspector DJ Boulier recommended that council purchase the crack seal machine because it is a problem that occurs yearly.

“Go down Ninth Street north of Clinton (Avenue). Even though it was done last year there are new cracks now,” Boulier said. “This will be an annual thing. The need is there, so let’s get this thing going.”

Booth referred to his estimates he gave in February for updating seven local streets, which was more than $3 million. According to Booth’s numbers, Goffe Street would cost the most at $826,000.

“We’ve done crack seal and small asphalt replacements before,” he said. “We need to continue to do both. Buying or renting a crack seal machine would help us in the long run.”

City Clerk Annette Sturdy and council members Tom McCartney and Jane Krebs were absent for both meetings.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 16, 2015)

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