Road maintenance to be focus of Atascadero City Council meeting

Atascadero has the most city-owned streets per capita in San Luis Obispo County, and they cost millions of dollars to maintain.

That’s the message the City Council will hear Tuesday when staff presents an update to Atascadero’s road program.

The city has allotted $11.6 million to sustain its streets since 2005, according to reports prepared by the city’s public works department. But after this year, the city’s budget for road improvements takes a dramatic dip — falling to $600,000 for 2013 to 2015 and $500,000 for 2015 to 2017.

The numbers serve as a reminder to city leaders that dwindling state and federal funds for local roads have led to the growing need for new revenue-builders such as a citywide assessment, half-cent sales tax measure or bond measure, staff say.

In fact, with the passage of Paso Robles’ half-cent sales tax measure last week, Atascadero is now the only city in the county that hasn’t increased its sales tax to fund some type of maintenance or capital project.

Atascadero is currently in the 2011-to-2013 leg of its capital improvement program, which budgeted $2.6 million for city streets. A road surface repair project on Atascadero Avenue and a repaving project to fix a section of San Fernando Road are among the recent projects completed.

Less money means a new focus on city roadwork with city employees opting to fill cracks and seal roads instead of laying fresh coats of asphalt.

Public Works staff are currently implementing “a new in-depth analysis and monitoring of road conditions within the city,” they said in their report.