Monday, March 15, 2010
San Diego residents will soon see more sidewalk repairs, new storm drains and other public works projects. The city council has approved a list of upgrades worth more than $100 million.
Thanks to a new source of revenue -- lease revenue bonds -- San Diego city now has money to tackle a backlog of repairs: $46 million will go to fix streets, nearly $10 million to sidewalks. More than 20 police and fire stations will get roof repairs, and several Balboa Park museums will get elevators accessible to the disabled. Lifeguard stations in La Jolla and Ocean and Mission Beaches will also have upgrades.
City engineer James Nagelvoort says much of the work is a backlog of deferred maintenance that has built up over the years.
“In the years that I’ve been with the City of San Diego,” Nagelvoort said, “and that goes back to the ‘90s, this is the most amount of money that I’ve seen go towards roads and storm drains and facilities, to really repair and fix and replace a lot of our deferred maintenance problems.”
Councilman Todd Gloria says the city should get a good deal on the contracts.
“This is exactly the right time to take on some of these projects,” Gloria said. “This is precisely why you are here today, because the bids are coming in low, because people are looking for work, and we need to do everything we can to put more of this money out on the street.”
Councilman Carl DeMaio also approved the list of work, but objected to financing it with loans to be paid back over 30 years.
“We made a decision to extend the payment for these projects that you are proposing today way into the future," DeMaio said, "and in doing so increased the total cost to taxpayers. Six million dollars is what it will cost us to extend those payments back.”
DeMaio said the new roads and buildings must be maintained so they don't crumble before the bonds that finance them are paid off -- three decades from now.