Those traveling on 1st Street in Britt will soon see an improved road, just not a completely new road.

During the Sept. 3 meeting of the Britt City Council, members decided to do an overlay, with the hope it will last a couple of years, until the city can afford to do the major repairs needed. 

“First Street is the never-ending conversation in the City of Britt,” Mayor Ryan Arndorfer said. “We understand why nothing has been done yet. The general public does not.”

Arndorfer said the City could decide to resurface the street for about $120,000, putting a layer on top but not fixing the damage to the structure under the road, which probably will not last long.

The infrastructure, the water and sewer, under the street is in a state of disrepair and all needs to be replaced, he said.

“So the ongoing discussion has been, do we spend $120,000 for a one- to two-year at most Band-Aid, we may have to dig up before we can redo 1st Street,” Arndorfer said.

The total cost to completely redo the street, including infrastructure repairs, is about $3 million, according to Arndorfer.

“The City cannot borrow $3 million because of the City’s debt capacity for another two years,” he said. “So that’s why we can’t completely redo the infrastructure.”

Arndorfer said he was of the opinion the city should do the Band-Aid on the street for now until the city could afford to do the $3 million repair, keeping in mind once they borrow that kind of money again the city can’t do another major repair right away.

“We don’t have any choice of getting two years out of [the street],” Councilmember Curt Gast said. “It’s just a matter of how bad it’s going to get.”

Currently, the city has another $1.5 million it could borrow before they council will have borrowed the absolute maximum of where they should be sitting, according to city administrator Debra Sawyer.

“It shouldn’t go more than 25 percent, so if we ever got hit with some sort of disaster, we still have money,” she said. “Otherwise you get to the point where you can’t even do that.”

As of May, the City’s debt capacity was at $2,181,000, according to Arndorfer. The City will pay back $278,000 in fiscal year 2019, which will take them up to $2.5 million. By 2022, there will be another $520,000 available.

Public Works Director Vance Hagen warned the council they shouldn’t have too high of expectations if they do simply Band-Aid the road, though.

“All the cracks under that road right now are going to go through a two-inch overlay,” he said. “Then we’ll be right back the very next year. You might have a sense of smoothness for the first summer, but…I’m just guessing.”

Wes Brown of Bolton & Menk, who is currently working on the water plant project, said there are some areas on 1st Street that will need even more than just a two-inch overlay.

Ultimately, the council unanimously agreed to have Hagen look into an overlay on 1st Street and to get quotes for the project.

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