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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Edgelea repaving not a done deal

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

With several concerned residents in house at Monday's Putnam County Commissioners meeting, plans to move forward with a repaving project in Edgelea were put on hold for at least a couple of weeks.

Commissioners were set to vote on the creation of an economic improvement district in the subdivision north of Greencastle.

The resolution would pave the way to smoother roads in Edgelea, with residents picking up 75 percent of the $1.4 million project.

Throughout the discussions of the project, Edgelea representatives said there was more than 90 percent approval from residents to pay for the project through 20 yearly assessments of $625.

A vocal minority showed up at Monday's meeting, expressing objections to the project and claiming the matter had not been fully explained when petitions were taken around the neighborhood.

Edgelea resident Pat Pistelli spoke on behalf of other residents opposed to the project as currently constituted.

"I do not believe this plan is the way to see it (the repaving) done," Pistelli said.

Among a number of objections to the project, Pistelli said he had spoken to an engineer involved in the project, who said a blacktop road is designed for a 15-year life, while the plan to pay for the project is 20 years.

He likened it to buying a used car on a 12-year loan.

Furthermore, he said, the engineer said there would be additional costs for sealing and resurfacing in approximately 5-7 years and 10-12 years, respectively.

"Which is going to be another cost that either the county is going to have to pay or the residents are going to have to pay again," Pistelli said.

Pistelli also expressed doubts of the economic benefits of the project, saying property values were unlikely to be impacted. Other concerns included whether the project qualifies as an economic improvement district, uneven benefits to residents throughout the neighborhood and the simply matter of a $600-plus increase to his property tax bill.

"I understand that there are people here who have been fighting this battle for a long, long time, but I'd like to see us come up with a plan that is more beneficial to everyone," Pistelli said.

Another resident said he had signed a petition, but understood the petition only to be approval of looking into repaving options, not approving the current plan.

Residents in favor of the project assured commissioners that the petition in question was the first of two taken around the neighborhood. They also said the petitions had been well explained when taken to neighbors.

Rick Bittles, who has helped spearhead the project, told commissioners the second petition had signatures from 105 of the 148 households, which exceeds the 51 percent needed for approval.

Not sure if the objections are a case of buyer's remorse or lack of communication, the commissioners were not ready to move forward on Monday.

In particular, Commissioner Nancy Fogle said she wanted to make sure any plan had the approval of a majority of residents.

The vote on the issue has been delayed until the commissioners' Monday, Nov. 19 meeting.

In the meantime, a letter was sent to all homes in Edgelea this week, with the commissioners requesting input from residents about the project.

Responses to the letter should be returned to the Putnam County auditor's office by Monday, Nov. 13.

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