Road repaving will start in Paso Robles with funds from sales tax hike

Higher shopping bills in the name of city road repairs will finally pay off for Paso Robles taxpayers this summer.

Four roads will get fresh pavement starting in June as part of the city’s first use of money generated by the half-percent sales tax increase voters approved in 2012 to fix the city’s streets.

The repaving project includes segments of Rolling Hills Road between Golden Hill and Creston roads; South River Road between Navajo Avenue and Niblick Road; Airport Road between Scott Street and Linne Road; and Country Club Drive from Niblick Road to the golf course parking lot.

The roadwork is expected to overlap some until the project’s estimated October completion.

A year and half ago, voters agreed to add a half-percent to their sales tax for 12 years on purchases in town to fix the roads after years of deferred maintenance and state funding takeaways resulted in cracked and crumbling streets and an onslaught of public complaints. The sales tax increase went into effect April 1, 2013.

Last year, the council approved a list of streets to be repaired with the new revenue. The list outlined which roads the city will fix in the next four years and prioritized thoroughfares over individual residential streets in order to get the most-used sections of city roads done first.

In April, the City Council opted to fix a longer stretch of Airport Road than listed, agreeing to kick in an extra $270,000 or so from the city’s general fund reserves to get the job done sooner than planned. The total cost of the repairs will be about $1.3 million.

A winning bid from Grover Beach firm Papich Construction Co. secured a contract for the work.

The council agreed to approve the extra roadwork per the suggestion of the supplement tax oversight committee overseeing the sales tax expenses. That board, made up of local citizens, wanted to fix a longer stretch of Airport Road near the Sherwood Park area than originally planned because of its deep fissures. Airport Road in that area is different than Airport Road off Highway 46 East.

Like six other cities in San Luis Obispo County, shoppers in Paso Robles pay an 8 percent sales tax with the new measure in place, while the sales tax rate remains 7.5 percent in unincorporated areas. The new tax rate is expected to generate an estimated $3.5 million to $3.9 million annually.