We have paving fatigue.

It's located in the Central Heights portion of our Mason City government conscience, and it's past time we address it.

The tiring issue is that the last tangible decision for fixing the neighborhood's roads was made 30 years ago. Yet, they still need paved.

Year by year, the roads in and out of the southwest Mason City neighborhood get worse.

No one is disputing that Mason City received $600,000 in state funding for paving in Central Heights. And it shouldn't be forgotten that the city kicked in another $140,000 for the project.

These are facts. That $740,000 in 1989 should have been put into pavement. But the city and the state, the less important figure in this case, don't know where or how the money was spent.

Mason City, with dozens of years of turnover among City Council members and paid city employees, has continuously, frustratingly and predictably failed to find a solution.

The cost to fix the problem hasn't decreased, and that unknown amount has allowed decision-makers to kick the can across town and back, again and again.

It's time for it to stop.

Central Heights is largely a low-income, underprivileged neighborhood. Residents don't have much, if any, disposable income, and any increases in their taxes have significant impacts on their lives.

State code caps assessments for projects like this at 25 percent. Mason City has offered some assessments that come in at more than 50 percent of the property's value.

For these residents and given the decades-long delay, that's not an acceptable, good-faith endeavor or an acceptable way for government to treat its residents.

Mason City should make the sweetest, one-time offer possible.

• Whatever the final project cost, the city should reduce $740,000 plus annual interest since 1989 from the cost shared with Central Heights.

• Additionally and after that reduction, it must cap project assessments for each property at 25 percent.

Mason City officials might absorb more of the cost than they’d like, and that’s OK. This muddy, bumpy road was years in the making.

Central Heights residents might not accept it, and that's OK. Future discussions about paving and roads there can focus on today's needs and today's costs.

But either the roads get fixed, or they don't. The argument and hurt feelings over 30-year-old money has to end.

There is a right way and a wrong way to provide services. It's time to get this one right.

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Local editorials represent the opinion of the Globe Gazette editorial board, which consists of Publisher Samuel Gett, Editor David Mayberry, and Regional Editor Jim Cross. Contact the board or send letters to news@globegazette.com.


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