City officials present updated streets plan

roads worksession

(From left) City of Manistee officials Ed Bradford, Mitch Deisch and Jeff Mikula lead a council work session on Tuesday to discuss the city’s streets.

MANISTEE — City of Manistee officials presented an updated street asset management plan and outlined the city’s options for street maintenance moving forward at a Manistee City Council work session on Tuesday.

The meeting lasted about two hours and was mostly in a lecture format, with Manistee Public Works Director Jeff Mikula and City Manager Mitch Deisch leading the presentation.

“The plan to move forward is to be determined,” Deisch said. “Do we maintain the current level of funding? Do we increase the current level of funding? If we increase the current level of funding, where does that money come from?”

Tuesday’s presentation touched on the city’s asset management program, the fundamentals of asset management, what the city has accomplished, the current condition of streets, how Manistee compares to other communities, potential funding requirements for street improvements and the process moving forward.

Possible funding sources for city street improvements include: grants, general fund allocation, special assessments, increased millage, capital improvement fund and the city’s Oil & Gas fund.

A crowd of about a dozen residents attended the meeting.

During the work session, Mikula talked about the various ways of maintaining city streets and the process of making decisions regarding street repairs and reconstruction.

Manistee’s asset management process includes assessing conditions, selecting appropriate treatments, estimating costs, predicting the street network’s future condition, establishing goals, evaluating treatment impact and prioritizing projects.

“All of that information is shared, spread and discussed among our cross-functional team of city staff,” Mikula said. “We apply the asset management principles and evaluate all of the (street maintenance) candidates based upon their criteria. We try to logically look at staging the work and scheduling it. Certainly, we have to work within the budget limitations. The next step is to create a map, (find) the cost of those (projects) and bring them to city council.”

During the meeting, Mikula said that since the city’s last asset management plan in 2008, 10.905 miles of city streets have been repaired for an estimated cost of about $8.7 million. Updated figures show that only 26 percent of the city’s major streets are in poor condition, while 57 percent of the city’s local streets are in poor condition.

He said that with the city’s current funding level for local streets, “we end up with a very scary scenario 10 years out. Almost 87 percent of our roads will be projected in poor condition.”

Officials emphasized that Tuesday’s meeting was the start of a discussion on city streets moving forward. The 2013 asset management plan is in a draft format and will be published when it is finalized. In the mean time, Tuesday’s presentation will be posted to www.manisteemi.gov for residents to review.

The next steps in the streets decision making process are the council’s January 2014 strategic planning session, the city’s 2014-15 budgeting process and the 2014 construction season.

“I would hope the citizens would come to the meetings and comment on (what) we’ve presented tonight,” said council member Bob Hornkohl.

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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