How to Manage City Streets in a Budget Crunch

With all kinds of state money getting harder and harder to obtain, many communities are concerned about how to manage their roads.

Negaunee is one of many places in the U.P. grappling with that concern.

At a conference in Marquette today, the city’s public works director gave counterparts of his from around the region, and the Lower Peninsula as well, a look at how to do that.

DPW director Dan Czarnecki says the preferred way to do it isn’t to tackle the worst streets first.

He says it’s best to do as many streets as possible for the money available, and if that means putting more difficult streets on the back burner, so be it.

The idea’s called asset management.

It works like most kinds of public services — no matter how badly people want any given project, if there’s no funding to do it, it can’t get done.

Czarnecki says while finding money to work on municipal roads is always really tough, he doesn’t believe it’s right to ask residents for a millage when that’s the only method being considered.

Some of the other topics road experts hashed out today — how to come up with an asset management plan, and how to present that plan to the community so residents will buy into it.