Residents are being asked for their opinions on Gurnee's intent to form long-term plans on improving village roads.
Officials will host town-hall meetings that will include presentations from village staff members on the state of local streets on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Sessions will be at 6 and 6:45 p.m. at village hall, 325 N. O'Plaine Road, with time set aside for audience questions and open discussion.
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Part of the evening will be spent discussing how possible infrastructure upgrades would be funded and managed under a long-term plan. In a brief outline regarding Gurnee's 113 miles of village-controlled roads, it's noted the village dropped its property tax and enacted a local sales tax in 2000 -- a move that had provided adequate funding for all services.
"However, with the Great Recession, sales tax figures have been down," according to the synopsis on Gurnee's streets. "To keep critical service levels high, certain areas saw decreased funding, such as roads. The roads could withstand this for a few years, but with aging infrastructure, the village must act now to preserve them."
Last fall, Infrastructure Management Services used laser camera technology to gather road surface data and rate the pavement conditions on a 0-100 scale, with a higher number being better. Officials said Gurnee's streets posted an average of 63, a nine-point decline since the last examination in 2011.
Village Engineer Scott Drabicki said the deterioration rate and cost for road repairs accelerate as the pavement ages.
"To get the best value for taxpayer dollars, the village should begin enhancing existing maintenance programs to extend the useful life of our streets," Drabicki said.
Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said the village is "literally at a fork in the road" regarding its streets.
"We can continue resurfacing around three miles of road a year and see overall diminished quality, or we can act now and discuss how best to fund street preservation," Kovarik said.