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Springfield to ask voters to approve $10 million bond for street repairs

The 5-year bond measure would raise $10 million. The tax rate is 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For the typical homeowner, the annual property tax bill would go up $80.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Two years ago this November, more than two out of 3 springfielders said "no" to doubling the local gas tax to fix streets.

This fall, the City of Springfield will try a different path to street repairs: a bond measure.

"It's got to be within budget and Springfield is a pretty lean community, so keeping that cost down is real important," said Tom Boyatt, the interim public woks director in Springfield.

The 5-year bond measure would raise $10 million.

The tax rate is 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For the typical homeowner, the annual property tax bill would go up $80.

Engineers say deteriorating streets are driving the street bond plan.

"This street out here might look average to some folks," Boyatt said, "but all of that cracking means that the sub-base is failing."

And if the sub-base fails, engineers say problems will ensure - and repairs will cost much more.

"Then you'll start seeing potholes develop," said Jeff Paschall, the city engineer, "What we like to call alligator cracking which is where you see all that kind of scaly cracking."

Local motorists may remember the big reconstruction project last summer in Eugene on Jefferson Street. Springfield engineers say that's exactly the scenario they're trying to avoid with this bond measure.

"That's a very expensive proposition," Boyatt said. "We'd like to avoid that cost by preserving the asset we have today."

Boyatt said recent polling by the city shows a modest bond measure to fund specific projects stands a chance to pass in November.

"I want to make clear: these won't be full dig-up and replace projects," Boyatt said.

But it would provide a down payment on Springfield's backlog of street repairs, which is forecast to hit $40 million by year's end.

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