Letter: Road maintenance needs to be a priority

To the editor,

As a Naugatuck resident for over 20 years and a home owner I have become very concerned about the conditions of the roads. There doesn’t seem to be any on-going maintenance. In years gone by at least the pot holes were filled at the beginning of spring and into the summer.

The Naugatuck town budget has $250,000 listed in a reserve fund for road maintenance and resurfacing. This reflects a sad lack of facing the reality that we are all dependent on our roads for commuting to work, shopping for groceries, visiting family, etc. If the roads are allowed to deteriorate another year the potholes will become deeper and more prevalent and more difficult to repair.

We need to invest millions in this vital part of our infrastructure. I called the Department of Public Works regarding this matter and was informed that citizens may call in the location of potholes and they will be repaired. The Public Works Department doesn’t have the manpower to drive around and locate them. What kind of nonsense is this? Nothing is happening concerning this dire situation.

All of the $105,000,000 of our taxpayer money will be effected in the near future by this situation. It’s fine to upkeep the high school and other buildings, have a great fire and police department, and provide many other services for the citizens of Naugatuck, but without a decent road system to get to these locations we are all seriously impaired.

Now I am not advocating raising the tax rate, which is already one of the highest in the state. We need the Board of Mayor and Burgesses to face an emergency situation and re-prioritize categories in the budget. The town needs a yearly ongoing repair, maintenance and resurfacing plan that takes precedence over other categories in the budget. Fill the pot holes, and resurface a percentage of the roads each budget year. Not enough manpower? Move it out of another category because it is a dire emergency situation.

How important is this?

If we wish to attract new businesses to our town one of their first considerations for transporting their goods and supplies is the condition of our roads. If we wish to revitalize the downtown area to rebuild it we require adequate roads to handle the increased traffic and transportation that would result. This means the hundreds of thousands spent on consultation plans and other development activity was wasted without updating the roads first and on a continuing basis. This is a town management predicament. Increasing the taxes would probably result in more waste. We need to more effectively manage the income we do have and prioritize how it is being used. The condition of our roads should become one of the top priorities since it affects all of the other categories.

I serve as a board member for the largest condominium village in Naugatuck. We have an on-going plan to resurface roads, paint the units, replace the roofs, etc. with a ten year on-going schedule that begins all over again at the end of the ten years. In addition all the other maintenance is handled such as sewer pipe repair, snow plowing, grass cutting, tree cutting and garbage collection. We have not raised the association fee in over ten years and pay for all of the above with no help from the town of Naugatuck. My experience serving on this board as a resident of this condo village leads me to believe that the town budget has been mismanaged and needs to be reorganized with road maintenance as one of the top priorities.

William Phelan


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