PICKENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Pickens County is pushing a new initiative called #KickingAsphalt to help solve road problems.
The county has also launched a website to help you track what crews are doing to troubleshoot road issues with your tax dollars.
“What happened is that a few months ago the County Council did something daring and courageous. They have raised taxes to solve the road problems on county roads in Pickens County, ”said Ken Roper, Pickens County Administrator.
“And Pickens County is not a county that has a lot of tax increases. It’s the first time he’s been lifted in 15 years, ”said Roper. “So when the county council took this bold step it then became the county staff, the people who work with me, it became our job to show the public how this bold step is going to impact their people. life to show how fast, and we were going to work hard to put that money to work.
Some people said they had been driving on issues for years.
“They are bad enough. The roads have been neglected, ”said Ann Barnhardt, a resident.
“There are of course areas in dire need of repair. I’ve been to other parts of the state where it’s much worse. So in comparison, I think our roads, there are areas that need work, and I would like to see some areas repaired, ”said Jane Petersen, a resident.
Now the website will allow anyone to report road maintenance issues in real time.
“So the whole point is to be transparent. So that people see the return on taxpayer investment in our roads. So if they go to fixcountyroads.com, there are actually three things you can do on this website, ”Roper said. “The first is that you can report road issues that you are having in your community through this portal. You will open this part of the page, you can take a picture with your phone, you can locate it on a map. You can send us a note, whether it is a pothole, a tree encroaching on the road, maybe a problem with a ditch, a problem with signage, any of these types of issues, you can capture them through the portal, ”said Roper.
Roper said the photo would then be geotagged to help crews find and resolve the issue.
“It’s like a traffic light. It’s red, yellow and green. So red means it’s a problem. Yellow means we’re working on it and green means it’s fixed, ”Roper said.
“I think it’s good that they are trying to provide that transparency to show residents of the county where our taxes are going and being spent, and that people can actually see the projects that may be underway,” said Petersen.
Second, Roper said you can see the roads the county has already paved this year and the roads it plans to pave.
“And the third thing you can do is follow the fund itself. So we have a fund which is a road maintenance fund and another which is a dedicated road fund and on this website you can watch as we collect these taxes and you can see how they are spent, ”he said. said Roper.
“So basically what it was was a mileage based system. Thus, the county taxes were increased by 5.3 million euros, to establish a sustainable and regular road maintenance fund, ”said Roper. “And then there was also 4.6 million taxes that were increased to establish a reserve for emergencies or for long-term projects so that we could handle both the type of crisis situation and so that we could have some sort of good maintenance program as well, he said.
Pickens County officials said they are looking to raise $ 6 million in revenue for the coming year, adding that the average homeowner would see an increase of about $ 10 to $ 15 on their annual tax bill.
“I don’t mind paying a little more for better roads personally, but I also think it’s good that they show us where our taxes are being spent,” said Petersen.
“We have 700 miles of county roads that do not include national highways and national highways,” Roper said.
He also said this did not include private roads.
“So out of those 700 miles, we have all classified miles. Each has what we call a pavement condition index and we will remedy it in many incidents worse than the first. We will look at the roads that are in the worst condition and fix them, ”Roper said.
“We’ve been able to spend and pave $ 5.3 million in roads in the last fiscal year, and we’re hoping to keep pace with that,” Roper said. “If we do that, if we are able to maintain that pace, we can set our paving cycle to a 22 to 24 year cycle, which is a good fit for the length of a road,” Roper said.
Click here to learn how to report your road maintenance issues and to see visuals of upcoming road surfacing projects in the county.