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Mayor suggests privatizing culs-de-sac to emphasize need for road funding

Officials suggest privatizing cul-de-sacs to emphasize need for road funding

FITCHBURG, Wis. - A new way to fix bad roads in Fitchburg could leave residents paying the price.

Sue Buchert is one of those residents. She has lived in her neighborhood for the better part of two decades.

"It was [this] cul-de-sac that was very appealing from a home-buying standpoint," she said.

She never imagined it could cost her, but that's exactly what Fitchburg Mayor Steve Arnold mentioned in a letter to the City Council that suggested the suburb could privatize culs-de-sac, leaving residents on the hook for maintenance.

"I guess I'm not happy to hear that we would be charged to have to provide for our own services," Buchert said. "That would be hard as a homeowner to be able to manage coordinating with the neighbors in the cul-de-sac to work through this."

It's not a popular idea; not even Arnold – who proposed it in the first place – is a fan.

"It's a terrible idea," he said. "I'm not advocating for these ideas. This is just to show people the seriousness of the problem."

The problem is money.

Arnold said street funding has seemed to go in circles in recent years, as the city replaces road pavement at the rate of roughly every 45 years, when it should be replaced every 30.

The city council is in the process of considering whether to spend more or less money on roads in its Capital Improvement Program.

Arnold said the point of this particular idea, however bad, is simply to stress the need for road repairs.

"The question to the council is, ‘How do you want to raise the money to pay for the roads, or do you want to let the roads get worse?'" Arnold said.

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