The Main Stream

Jan 5, 2014 7:56 PM by Erika Flores

County administrator proposes raising property taxes to preserve roads

TUCSON-Which is worse? Increased property tax to pay for pavement preservation or bad roads?

County residents will be debating this as county administrator Chuck Huckelberry asks for higher property taxes to repair roads.

No one wants to pay more taxes, but the residents News 4 Tucson talked to said if that's what it takes to repair more county roads, then so be it, but the five million dollars that the tax increase would raise won't be enough to repair all of the roads that need a makeover.

Peggy Green doesn't have to go too far from home to get stuck in a pothole.
"They're in disrepair without a doubt," she said.

She said she constantly has an issue with these holes in front of her driveway.

"They don't seem to be able to keep up with it," said Green.

Walt Kauz has the same problem in his neighborhood near La Canada and Magee.

"You can see all the cracks here all you need they've never been attended to, they haven't been filled in," said Kauz.

Just down the street, the county repaved two parts of the road.

"But the rest of the road just continues to fall apart," said Jim Humphreys.

Kauz said he doesn't expect this asphalt to last.

"They're really temporary, and as soon as you get any rain, it gets in these cracks and the asphalt pops up," said Kauz.

County administrator Chuck Huckelberry is proposing to raise the property tax rate by seven cents for pavement preservation.

Pavement preservation includes fog seals to digging up the asphalt and rebuilding the road.

Huckelberry said homeowners with a home valued at around 115,000 dollars will pay about eight dollars more on taxes.

"I think it's a good idea. I don't think that financial impact on one particular household is going to be uncontrollable, and they're going to have to do something because obviously we don't have enough funds as it is," said Green.

"As long as the money that's appropriated goes to roads and not to something else, I don't have any problems with it," said Kauz.

Huckelberry said the tax increase would generate about five million dollars.

"We need quite a bit more than that but it's better than doing nothing," said Huckelberry.

Huckelberry said the county needs about 300 million dollars to fix the roads.

He hopes the state legislature can make movement to restore state diverted county highway funding or increase gas taxes to help.

He said he would much rather prefer that over a property tax rate increase.

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