Mission Viejo council candidates advised to promote no crime & no potholes

When  a group of us were candidates for the Mission Viejo city council in 1994 one of our mentors advised us on the best way to connect with the electorate. Promote “no crime” and “no potholes.” The average voter does not spend time engaging in the multitude of special interest requests in the city. He was right.

After months of local watchdog pressure the city of Mission Viejo has ratchet’d up our street maintenance, including Olympiad Road a few hundred feet from our home today. The big issue for me is the cost of delayed repairs which might end up costing you seven times the cost of a periodic slurry seal.
Ironically, like all other cities in Orange County, Mission Viejo receives Measure M funding for our streets which should remove any further delays.

Exactly three years ago I commented on the city of Santa Ana who was facing a $467 million cost to fix 300 miles of their roads as reported in the March 27, 2007 OC Register. In reading what follows pay close attention to the cost differential between slurry seal and asphalt patch.

Pot holes. Round 3 . Asphalt patch or slurry seal

Larry Gilbert posted this in Classic Juice 2 on April 2nd, 2007

I must commend Juice bloggers Art and Sean for alerting the readers on the pot hole conditions in Santa Ana.

Backdrop. The March 27th Register editorial reported that it will cost $467 million to fix up to 300 miles of Santa Ana roads.

In Mission Viejo last year we conducted our scheduled road maintenance in the south eastern part of our (17 square mile) city.

What jumps off the page is that delayed repairs might end up costing you seven times the cost of a periodic slurry seal.

We Contract out by specific streets length and width to arrive at a square footage number. That number, last year, was around 694,000 square feet of asphalt patch costing us $730,264, roughly $1.05 per square foot.

At the same time we slurry sealed 2,380,000 square feet at a cost of $351,148. This converts to about 15 cents per square foot. Notice the difference if you stay on top of your roads and fix them before the “pot holes” bury you.

So last year my city spent around $ one million dollars to cover 3 million square feet. I do not have the road mileage to do a direct comparison to Santa Ana’s 300 miles which, by itself, does not tell the entire story. How much material will that project require and how bad are the neglected pot holes?

Bottom line. Based on Juice prior blog reports someone should be held accountable for this road negligence.

Being a city watchdog takes a great deal of time and effort The first step is to put their feet to the fire which obviously is now underway. Step two is to demand an accounting of how we got here rather than simply passing the burden onto the residents.

Santa Ana activists. What are you hearing from your elected officials and city management?

Following were email comments:

April 2nd, 2007

1 Larry Gilbert says:
April 2, 2007 at 11:14 pm (Edit)
Email response that I also added to Sean’s later post.

“This is very common. City councils defer maintenance so they can look good balancing the budget and still preserving constituency handouts, employee union “gimme”s and council junkets. By the time stuff falls apart, they’re long gone.”

2 cook says:
April 3, 2007 at 3:51 pm (Edit)
Larry, do property owners in MV still pay the extra taxes for roads and improvements?

Or are those all paid for and now just the 1 percent is collected?

3 Larry Gilbert says:
April 3, 2007 at 8:10 pm (Edit)

Earlier today I spoke to the first Mayor of our city who was one of my mentors. In discussing this issue he repeated what I may have stated. We have “feathered” our street maintenance over a seven year period and than recycle. This enables us to mitigate the cost by slurry sealing before we end up with pot holes. Furthermore, you avid getting a major financial hit in one fiscal cycle.

As to financing.

We do not have ANY tax for our roads. This ongoing (CIP) Capitol Improvement Project activity is funded from our overall revenues, be it sales tax, property tax, etc.

Prior to creation of the proposed budget, that council and residents can weigh in on, each department head makes a funding request which become part of the package that can be tweaked than presented by our city manager. Road maintenance is part of that document.

Mission Viejo is roughly 40 years young. I have lived in this city for 28 of those years and can report that those in leadership over that entire timespan have made a serious effort to promote no crime and no pot holes. Yes, we do have some but they are repaired rather quickly without any fanfare. I do not recall us ever paying “extra taxes” as you state.

Hope that answers your questions.
Best regards, Larry

4 Larry Gilbert says:
April 3, 2007 at 8:24 pm (Edit)
Cook. Additional data.
Note: Perhaps I should spell check before hitting the send key.

I just spoke to one of the managers in our city and will now add some additional data.

First. The million dollars we spent last year were for a CIP. Funding for that effort, under our Public Works Department, came from gas taxes and Measure M.

Second. Our Maintenance Department also does spot repairs such as fixing pot holes. Their expenditures are considerably lower.

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