By ANDY MCCAMMON
With a limited paving budget and the cost of oil-based construction materials on the rise, the outlook for Brazil's city streets remains bumpy in 2006.
Mayor Tom Arthur and city council members convened a special working session Friday to determine the best use for the city's $40,000, 2006 paving budget-- an amount well below the cost of even 1 mile of asphalt resurfacing ($54,000) since the recent spike in oil prices, according to a representative for Wabash Valley Asphalt.
"We've had huge increases, more than we've ever seen. That has affected our business greatly," said Warren Artz, a project supervisor with the Terre Haute-based firm.
Council members considered chipping and sealing select roads at a cost of $20,000 per mile, but Artz cautioned that the process would not alleviate existing problems related to rough or uneven surfaces.
Another option Artz suggested would entail milling a section of road until smooth before chipping and sealing the surface, a solution that would address concerns both structural and cosmetic.
Artz estimated the cost of milling and resurfacing a mile of road with chip and seal at $30-35,000.
Councilman Marty Beasley said he opposed any major improvements to streets affected by leaking water lines, a major contributor to the structural problems affecting Brazil's roads.
"I'm big in favor of paving things, but until those water lines are fixed we're spending good money on a bad problem," he said.
The $40,000 paving budget is split evenly between the city's four wards, but council members agreed the money should be pooled and directed toward the significant improvement of one problematic street, regardless of its geographic location.
"What we're fighting is we only have $10,000 in each ward to use," said Councilman James Sheese. "That's not going to get us too far."
"If somebody else has a bigger problem than I do, I don't have to use that money in my ward," Beasley said.
Council members will likely make a decision on the expenditure of the 2006 paving budget at Tuesday's council session.