Does the city of Woodward need to re-pave its streets? And if so, how should they be paid for?

Those issues were the subject of two recent public hearings in Woodward. And among attendees who filled out comment cards, all agreed street paving was needed but were virtually split on raising taxes to pay for the improvements. In an interview with The Record, Mayor Brian Devick explained that as with many smaller towns, Woodward’s streets are not actually paved with asphalt, but seal-coated, which is a somewhat similar but more economical method.

In his presentation to Woodward residents, Devick noted that given the current condition of the streets, and the costs involved, Woodward streets could not be replaced with curb gutters or concrete streets. The only feasible method, he said, would be asphalt paving. Seal-coating, according to Devick, provides a good base of an asphalt overlay.

Devick told attendees the cost for the asphalting the streets would some $2.4 million, including engineering costs, bond and attorney fees, contingencies, and sidewalk work to make them disability-accessible.

Funding for the projects could be a challenge, Devick said, noting the city has just finished paying off one General Obligation bond. He added that interest rates are beginning to rise from their historical low last winter and are expected to continue to rise over the next several years. Woodward also will be getting additional new road use tax funds from the annexation of the state hospital grounds on the north side of town, Devick said.

The city council is considering taking $750,000 of the project with a road use tax bond. This will not come out of our general fund and will not raise taxes. Then, if Woodward were to refinance its remaining balance on the one GO bond, with the balance of the new debt, it would, he said, result in only a small increase in the tax being paid by the average homeowner.

For example, Devick said, Woodward’s average debt rate has been $5.52 per $1000 of taxable valuation over the last 8 years. The new rate would be an estimated $6.08 per $1000 of valuation. This would result in an increase of taxes of $0.56 per $1000 of valuation.

Thus, for a $100,000 home, the difference would be $30 per year or $2.50 per month. But Devick cautioned that figure is only the debt service portion of the taxes, and does not include any other taxes or debt service for the school or county. Debt service is the payment of both principal and interest.