with poll: How would you rate Ann Arbor's city streets? City says 71% good or very good and improving
The city of Ann Arbor has about 300 miles of city streets it's responsible for maintaining, including 100 miles of major streets and 200 miles of residential streets.
It also has 13 street bridges and 33 miles of bike lanes.
Maintaining those assets with the money generated from the city's 2-mill street millage has taken some work, but city officials say street conditions are gradually improving.
Homayoon Pirooz, head of the city's project management unit, told Ann Arbor City Council members Monday night that 47 percent of the city's streets are rated "very good," 24 percent are "good," 21 percent are "fair" and 7 percent are "poor."
The information presented Monday night shows the city resurfaced more than a dozen miles of streets in both 2002 and 2003. Since 2004, though, the city has done about half or a third of the amount of resurfacing, depending on the year. City officials attribute that to increased asphalt prices, a stronger emphasis on reconstruction, and need for sidewalk ramp replacements and bridge work.
But there's some good news for local motorists. Pirooz said the city is taking on more street repair projects this year than last year, and the city is planning to do even more next year.
That's partly thanks to the fact that the city landed nearly $16.8 million in state and federal funding for the East Stadium Boulevard bridges replacement project — money the city was ready to spend from the street millage fund.
According to the city's most recent audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, total street millage fund revenues came in at $10.5 million for the year, including $9.4 million in taxes, $866,729 in investment income and other miscellaneous revenue. About $10.1 million of that revenue was spent during the year, the audit shows.
The audit also showed the street millage fund had an unreserved fund balance of more than $23.1 million. The fund balance increased nearly $3.1 million during the year.
Pirooz suggested Monday night the numbers are slightly deceiving.
"There is a perception out there that we have a very large fund balance in the street resurfacing and somehow we're not spending it all," he said. "The numbers that I think we hear from time to time about the fund balance doesn't show all of the obligations that the fund balance has."
For example, he said, when the city accepts a state or federal grant, the Michigan Department of Transportation manages the project and the city must come up with local matching funds. The state then sends the city invoices for its share of the costs, he said, and typically it takes the city several years to pay all of the invoices for a completed project.
"We do keep a very close watch on how much we have and how much we spend," he said. "And on top of all that, in the last two years or three years, we were careful about our fund balance just to make sure we had sufficient dollars for the replacement of the East Stadium bridges if we had to have a larger share of the project than we have today."
How do you rate the condition of the city's streets?