Wis. cities: Potholes busting our budgets

Local leaders ask state for emergency road funds
Wis. cities: Potholes busting our budgets

Cities across the state said potholes are busting their budgets.

Local leaders are asking the state for emergency funds to fix the roads.

Mayors from across the state met together in Beloit to make the plea for money, saying the winter had been too hard on their roads.

“We have seen a catastrophic number of potholes affect cities,” said John Dickert, mayor of Racine and president of the Urban Alliance.

Potholes and heaved streets have been causing increasing problems in communities after an unusually harsh winter sent frost deep into the ground.

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities estimates local governments will spend $12 million beyond their budgets on road repairs this year. Beloit alone is estimating they’ll need a couple hundred grand to cover unexpected costs.

If that total statewide tops $18 million, they can ask for FEMA disaster funds.

Until then they’re asking the state for help.

“Because we have a levy limit that does not allow for us to pay for this or raise taxes the only way you can pay for this in a city like ours is to take it out of something else so some other service is not handled,” said Dickert.

Counties were made whole on their extra winter expenses by the DOT asking the state for more money.

On this issue a spokeswoman for the DOT said Friday they just heard about the request and at this point weren’t yet aware of an emergency grant program to cover costs.

The city of Madison said its costs for the year are also above average. Madison has spent 35 percent more on snow and ice control and are already at $1.2 million for water main issues compared with just less than $1 million last year and $1.3 million for the entire year in 2011.