Harmony Town Board seeks to increase levy in order to improve roads.
For several years the town’s budget for road maintenance has not kept pace with needed repairs due to increasing material costs. It is important that the Town stay on top of road maintenance to extend the life of its roads. Repaving one mile of road costs approximately $165,000 with costs increasing every year. Harmony has about 49 miles of roads. The increased funds would allow for more seal coating and crack filling of roads, thereby extended their life and postponing an expensive rebuild.
This year the Town of Harmony paid for half of the reconstruction of a portion of Milton-Harmony Townline Road, which is shared with Town of Milton. Harmony's share of that was $69,720. The town borrowed the funds for the needed reconstruction. The total budget for roads this year is $127,156 without M-H Townline Road. This includes all snow plowing, road maintenance and road construction.
Part of the problem is that the tax levy limits imposed by the state have not allowed the Town to increase revenue. Last year two referendums were proposed for the purpose of improving roads. Both failed. This year the state has changed the law and now allows towns with populations under 3,000 (previously 2,000) to seek a levy increase through a meeting of the town electors. This is like a town board meeting, but the electors (town residents) make the motions and do the voting.
The Town is seeking to increase the levy to $309,402. This increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 house approximately $53. This will increase the amount budgeted for roads by 38%. This may seem like a sizable increase, but is only about a dollar a week for the owner of a $100,000 house. And it is the minimum the Town feels is necessary to stop further deterioration of our road system. Without the needed funds for maintenance the roads will continue to crumble, perhaps once again becoming the gravel roads that existed years ago.
Residents are encouraged to attend the electors meeting and ask questions so that you understand why the Town Board is asking for this increase.