Speaking on behalf of a committee of Edgelea homeowners, Rick Bittles proposed a public-private partnership, by which residents would pay for 75 percent of the project to repave Edgelea's roads, which are the property of Putnam County.
The county would be asked to pay the remaining 25 percent of the $1.45 million plan.
The project would not only repave the roads, but also address the serious storm water drainage issues the area has.
"It would be nice if the county had the money to do it, but we know that can't be done," Bittles said.
He said a committee of 12 residents went door to door in Edgelea, surveying residents of their willingness to pay an extra assessment on their property taxes to pay for the roads. Of the 110 people polled, only six objected to the plan.
"I think the residents have stepped up and seem to be in agreement that they're willing to pay a large portion of the cost," Bittles said.
The repayment of Edgelea's portion of the bond would be achieved by the county's establishment of a tax increment district under the Barrett Assessment Law. An additional $592 per year would be collected from the 140 residences over a 20-year period.
Bittles said the tipping point was to keep the additional assessment under $300 per biannual property tax collection. The plan would make the additional amount $296 per tax bill.
The county's portion of the bond would also be repaid over two decades, with $150,000 in up front capital and $20,000 per year for 20 years.
With 2.815 miles of road in the subdivision, the $1.45 million price tag is much higher per mile than most county roads would cost. However, Edgelea is dealing with Wabash Valley Asphalt on getting hot mix asphalt, which comes at a higher price than the cold mix (or pug) the county normally uses for roads.
Additionally, most county roads are 20 feet wide, while the roads in Edgelea are nearly 30 feet wide.
Several other residents in attendance expressed their support for the project, and commissioners Nancy Fogle and Gene Beck seemed impressed with what they heard.
"If you get that many people to agree with it, I don't see how we can be against it," Fogle said.
"I'm not against it if we can find the money to do it," Beck added.
Commissioners also noted the difference with this proposal and others they have heard, in that nearly all residents polled have expressed their support for the project, in spite of the tax increase.
By contrast, Beck said when the Heritage Lake Property Owners Association wanted to use the Barrett Law to finance a road project, approximately 1,000 residents were against it, with only around 300 supporting the project.
No action was taken Tuesday, but attorney Scott Hoff recommended the commissioners hire bond counsel if they are seriously considering the issue. He said the move would have to be made within the next 30-45 days if work is to be done on the project next summer.
The issue will be on the agenda again at the Sept. 19 Putnam County Commissioners meeting.