The Stanislaus County Public Works Department was granted additional funds to be used on road and bridge maintenance for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Public works was seeking an additional $876,000 in appropriations and contingency funds to be included into their budget to combat the rising need for road and bridge repairs all over Stanislaus County.
The motion passed with a majority vote by the Board of Directors on Tuesday.
“Stanislaus County Public Works Department maintains more than 15,000 miles of roads and more than 230 bridges,” said Matthew Macahdo, director of public works. “It’s a county service that every single resident needs and depends upon; it’s a service that’s complained about daily.”
In recent years, public works has seen a decline in the amount of state funds being allocated for roads with as much as 20 percent less (approximately $1.3 million) since last year’s budget.
Up until last year, Stanislaus County had resurfaced over 80 miles of roads consistently since 2012. In 2015 they plummeted down to 0 miles of roads resurfaced.
Recently, a countywide transportation expenditure plan was passed by the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) Policy Board which would introduce a half cent tax over 25 years to be introduced on the November ballot.
With 20 counties across the state having already addressed and adopted this new plan, the plan now waits to be voted on as an ordinance by StanCOG and by the Stanislaus Board of Supervisors on June 28.
Until this expenditure plan passes however, public works is still in desperate need of funds to keep up roads and bridges across the county.
Based on the 2016-17 budget proposal, public works would need to make substantial cuts department wide in order to meet their budget. These cuts would include reduction of pothole patching of up to 50 percent as well as other considerable road, bridge and shoulder maintenance cutbacks.
"It is the service that is taken for granted too often,” said Machado. “It is the biggest asset and the biggest liability the county owns.”
Last year alone, all lawsuits and other claims made against the county in regards to vehicle damage caused by faulty or worn down roads totaled approximately $4 million.