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The Town Council has approved its 2020 10-Year Pavement Management Plan with direction to staff to proceed with developing a strategy and recommendations to implement the program, including funding, public involvement and timelines.

The town has been working with Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) to develop an outline that includes a proposed level of service and pavement condition standards for the varying levels of street classifications, arterial, collector and local.

The key element to be addressed through further review and evaluation is a “funding gap” between IMS recommendations and funding currently available. The town currently has a plan that budgets $2.5 million per year ($25 million over 10 years). IMS recommends that the funding needed to meet the approved pavement condition standards is $5.5 million on an annual basis ($55 million over 10 years). The difference over a decade is $30 million or $3 million annually.

Town Manager Grady Miller said he wants a thorough review by staff before making any finance proposals on the plan. While bonding might be practical for some projects, it is not considered feasible for ongoing maintenance.

“Our intent is to return to the Town Council with a strategy to engage our residents with the 10 Year Pavement Management Plan,” Miller said. “The result of the strategy will likely involve the Town Council appointing a citizen committee or task force to review the recommendations from the 10 Year Pavement Management Plan.

“It is anticipated that staff and IMS will attend the committee meetings and seek direction on funding alternatives for implementing the pavement management plan.

“The committee meetings will be open to the public and will seek citizen input. Then the committee will return…to the Town Council with its implementation recommendations including funding options for consideration by the Town Council.”

In December, Zac Thomason, client services director for Infrastructure Management Services, made a presentation to the council explaining the grading scale for pavement condition and the nuances and challenges associated with maintaining a desired classification. He was back for the June 16 council session to update.

According to Thomason, an assessment done by IMS in 2017 determined that Fountain Hills has an overall PCI rating of 63, which is good (low B range).

The study reflects a backlog of streets in dire need of attention at 5.5 percent, well within the target of 12 percent or less for backlogs.

However, Thomason explained that with the current funding the town has available for pavement management the backlog could increase rapidly.

Thomason said the town’s budget of $2.5 million per year for pavement management would result in an overall PCI of 58 and a backlog of 42 percent within 10 years.

Council directed staff in December to work toward an overall average PCI of 70 (B), with arterial streets at 73; collector streets 65 or better (C) and local streets at (C-).

According to Thomason the annual cost of achieving the proposed goals is $5.5 million; $3 million more than currently budgeted.

The Town of Fountain Hills owns 162.6 center lane miles of roadway, equaling 3.6 million square yards of pavement. That makes the streets the town’s largest single asset with a value of $1.2 million per mile, or $198 million total. This does include the value of land, bridges, sidewalks and other street related infrastructure.