Mayor hopes voters reauthorize tax to fund road work

April 10, 2019

In addition to deciding two City Council races, Dickinson voters in the May 4 election will consider whether to reauthorize a sales tax that has been in effect for eight years to fund road projects.

In 2011, city voters approved a measure to charge a quarter cent per $1 spent in the city to fund street maintenance. Every four years, due to what’s called a “sunset clause,” the city must present that proposition to voters to determine if there’s still enough support to maintain it, Mayor Julie Masters said.

“After we adopted it in 2011, it passed again when we had to take the vote back to residents in 2015,” she said.

Hopefully voters will support (the sales tax) so we can keep moving forward.”

The program provides the city with about $1 million a year for projects including perform construction, repair and general maintenance on streets.

“We’ve had a really long history of not spending enough money on building or repairing really good roads,” Masters said. “We’re trying to build or repair roads that will last, and there are lot of them that need work; so it’s a slow process. We’ve been working on this program since about 2005, trying to build as many roads out of concrete as we can, and those roads are lasting. Of course, we want to keep that up, but we have some challenges to face.”

Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on many roads, with many sitting under water for days and others being pounded by heavy trucks and machinery for months.

“it was literally tons of debris in these trucks,” Masters said. “The wear and tear on the streets was horrible, and all the rains we’ve had since Harvey is killing us. We hope to use the money from the sales tax along with some Hurricane Harvey money to help us really beef up our roads.”

The city is working on an overlay program for less-traveled roads and redoing the subgrade and asphalt on others that see heavier traffic.

“The overlay program is a program that just gets people a decent driving surface until we can get to the road to replace it,” Masters said. “The subgrade is where the strength of the road comes from. Right now, we’re identifying streets that need the most work and doing cost comparisons. There are a lot of moving pieces.”

In Dickinson City Council races, Position 2 incumbent Bruce Henderson is running against Kevin Edmonds and Sean Skipworth, while Position 6 incumbent William H. King, III is running against H. Scott Apley. Position 4 incumbent Wally Deats is unopposed.