Niles right to fund street repairs now

With Niles struggling to emerge from a dire financial situation, it might have been easy for elected leaders there to hold off another year on major street repaving projects.

But as they know, in the long run, delayed action would only further set back the city — particularly considering this harsh winter that already is showing drastic negative effects on area roads. That’s why we are pleased to see that Niles officials already have begun discussions on how to fund necessary improvements to city streets.

A good first step was an outline of highest priority streets and logical discussion about the estimated costs to mill and fill roadways, along with which streets could be salvaged this year with crack sealing and partial depth repairs. Paving options have been laid out in two options that officials believe are within their $400,000 budget. Still, that’s less than half of the estimated $900,000 that would be needed for repaving streets the city engineer’s office has designated as the highest priority.

Residents must remain patient as the leaders they’ve elected analyze the data and the bottom line and then make hard decisions about what streets are most in need of repair and which can wait until next year. That’s when more revenue is expected to become dedicated to a regular resurfacing program because of the recently passed additional license plate tax. At that time, we hope city leaders will give serious consideration to dedicating a significant portion of these funds to local matches for potential road-paving grants or pursue joint efforts with the Trumbull County Engineer’s office to maximize their constituents’ dollars.

Until then, the city must work hard to keep up with needed street repairs. We believe few would disagree that the most basic essential services that local government is obligated to perform always include safety forces and upkeep of streets.