Edgewood’s town council continued its infighting at its last meeting, but also addressed substantial issues including the state of the town’s roads.
The council also discussed the town’s bonding capacity, and whether the future commission-manager government should elect members at large, or from their own districts.
According to town road department supervisor Charles Williams, Edgewood will need roughly half a million dollars in equipment and labor to get a foothold on deterioration of the town’s most-travelled arterial roads.
Paved roads like Frost, Dinkle and Church are in most dire need of repair, but the necessary measures to properly seal or repave them just aren’t available, Williams said.
Gravel roads are being maintained and potholes are being filled, Williams said, adding that with some additions (another grader, two rollers, and added crew), the department would be able to address things like culverts, signs, and striping.
Currently, the road department is comprised of Williams and one other person. “As it stands now, we’re seemingly always behind,” Williams said.
A number of departments weighed in on roads, and Mayor pro tem John Abrams also presented a December 2020 report by engineering firm Bohannan Huston, which says that for Edgewood’s roughly 27 miles of paved roads, $29 million is needed to repair the roads to “good condition or better.”
This is in contrast to the bond capacity of nearly $1.4 million that the town has to work with.
One option in the short term for maintaining paved roads is to contract that work out, Williams said, adding later that this would probably be the easiest and cheapest option in the short run.
According to Bohannan Huston’s report, suggested long-term actions include implementing a recurring data collection program, which would help planners determine how best to prioritize road projects; developing an asset management plan, which would help with fiscal planning and quality control; a roadway prioritization effort that could assess urgency based on varying considerations; and creating a road standards design document which would focus on how the town of Edgewood wants future road development to look.
Edgewood’s planning and zoning administrator Tawnya Mortensen referred to the town’s Comprehensive Plan, which alludes to the desire of community members to maintain a rural character.
The focus of the discussion shifted to the maintenance of chip-sealed avenues, which make up the majority of Edgewood’s roads. Williams added that what Edgewood doesn’t need are more roads, stating, “We can’t maintain what we have now.”
Roads were on the mind of councilor Sherry Abraham as well, as earlier in the meeting she had called for creation of a focus group to look at fugitive dust in Edgewood. Though her motion died due to lack of a majority, Abrams suggested that she pursue the idea as a “councilor’s project.”
After talking about roads, the council moved on to discussion of the shape the future commission-manager format could take.
A few issues are complicating this transition in Edgewood: Lawsuits are still pending with respect to who currently holds elected office in the town; Census data for 2020 will be available several months later than anticipated, meaning the population of the town is in question; and the council’s own gridlock over the past several months with respect to the transition.
Meanwhile, town staff have continued to advance the transition administratively, according to reports by town clerk Juan Torres.
During the discussion, Jaramillo advocated for at-large elections to the five still-to-be-created districts, such as what Edgewood has done to date. That would mean that a person living anywhere in Edgewood could run for commissioner.
Both Abrams and Holle said they would prefer electing individuals from each district, meaning that potential candidates would have to live in the district in which they run.
In other business, the council decided to remove the old town hall from the market and reject all offers to buy, until more discussion can be held regarding the sale of the building.
That sale had become another bone of contention within the governing body for the past several months.
Members of the public thanked the council during the open comment period for their more cordial tone and for doing the town’s business.