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Facts or Fiction: New Town Wouldn't be Able to Fix its Roads

Carmel Pine Cone – Sept. 4, 2009



By CHRIS COUNTS

INCORPORATION OPPONENT and
Carmel Valley attorney Frank Lunding —
repeating a charge that has been made on
numerous occasions by himself and others —
told the Monterey County Board of
Supervisors this week the proposed Town of
Carmel Valley wouldn’t be able to afford to
maintain the roads it would inherit from the
county if voters approve incorporation Nov. 3.

To back up their claim, Lunding and other
opponents point to a talk Monterey County
public works director Lew Bauman gave to
Carmel Valley Rotary Club members in
2002. Bauman, now Monterey County
administrative officer, spoke about public
works infrastructure in the state, the county
and more specifically, in Carmel Valley.
“The original road system was never really
designed for the uses it has seen today
within the incorporation area,” Bauman
explained. “We figure about 35 to 40 miles
of that area do not meet current developmental
standards and would need to be engineered.
If we were to do that within the
incorporation area, that would cost about
$100 million to $150 million.”

Bauman went on to say an additional $40
million to $60 million would be needed for
“pavement rehabilitation and replacement
costs” and an additional $3 million a year to
replace “failed road systems.”

Speaking out against incorporation, Bob
Sinotte argues the new town’s roads would
quickly deplete its coffers.

“Roads are the backbone of a city,”
Sinotte said. “They can break the back of a
city as well.”

Sinotte believes the county will be glad to
rid itself of the burden of fixing Carmel
Valley’s roads.

“It’s no wonder the county wants to dump
this on us,” he said.

If incorporation were to succeed, the
responsibility of fixing Carmel Valley’s
roads would be assumed by 4,500 homeowners,
Sinotte said.

“I’d rather see that cost of that dispersed
over the whole county,” he added.

Short of cash, Sinotte believes the town
would be forced to approve new development
to increase revenue.

“The new city will be poised for growth,”
he said.

Scare tactics?

Incorporation advocate Glenn Robinson
charged Sinotte and others with using “scare
tactics.” He said the new town plans to spend
more money on its roads than the county currently
does.

“The county spends about $500,000 per
year on Carmel Valley roads,” Robinson
said. “The town is projected to spend around
$700,000.”

If the incorporation vote fails, would it
even be possible for the county to spend
$150 million on Carmel Valley roads?

“The public works budget is about $10
million a year, so claiming [the county] is
imagining spending $150 million on Carmel
Valley roads is ludicrous,” Robinson countered.
“Is the county is going to spend 15
years worth of its public works budget for
the whole county on Carmel Valley?




Last Updated: Sep 04, 09

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