By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Spider webbing and alligator hide aren’t just found in the animal kingdom.
In Healdsburg, city engineers use those terms to describe the cracks and patterns in some of the town’s most deteriorated streets.
But by next spring, some of those streets will be repaved or improved following a City Council action on Monday to allocate $500,000 in new sales tax revenue for pavement rehabilitation, sidewalks and bicycle facilities improvements.
The expenditures represent the first revenue from Measure V, the half-cent sales tax increase Healdsburg voters approved in November.
“I’m thrilled the measure passed, the money’s available and we’re using it in the way people wanted it used,” said Councilman Tom Chambers.
In a survey of residents earlier this year, respondents said fixing potholes, repaving roads and constructing sidewalks should take priority in how the new sales tax revenue should be used.
“We can testify those roads really need it,” said Mayor Susan Jones, who noted that council members a year ago took a tour to look at some of the most pressing infrastructure needs.
The half-cent sales tax boost took effect April 1 and raised the tax in Healdsburg to 8.75 percent.
The increase lasts for 10 years and is projected to raise about $1 million annually for the city’s general fund.
Along with 50 percent going toward streets, the council previously agreed following the citizens survey that 20 percent should go to police and fire, 20 percent to economic development and 10 percent to deferred maintenance of public buildings.
“The people spoke loud and clear when they passed Measure V. I think we’re doing what they wanted us to do,” Councilman Gary Plass said.
As far as roads, almost half of Healdsburg’s 45 miles of streets are considered to be in good condition. Another 23 percent are fair, 18 percent poor, and 12 percent very poor, according to public works officials.
City officials acknowledged some arterial streets need attention, but they are hoping to leverage some grant money for those repairs.
On Monday, it was neighborhood streets that ended up getting funding for pavement rehabilitation.
They included 15 streets in the River’s Bend subdivision; two streets in Parkland Farms; and March Avenue between Westmont Court and Highland Circle.
Another $100,000 was approved for hazardous sidewalk mitigation; $20,000 for bike lanes on March Avenue; $30,000 for traffic signage; and $12,000 for bike storage and bike racks on city shuttle buses.
The council also approved $200,000 for economic development that will go to the Chamber of Commerce.
The city previously funneled redevelopment money to the chamber for its programs before the state eliminated that source.
The chamber provides a number of services including business attraction; business retention and expansion; staffing a visitor center; and promoting Healdsburg as a destination.
It also manages the downtown business assessment district which generates funds for things like promotion, beautification and parking acquisition.
The council also agreed to allocate $25,000 of the sales tax revenue towards reviving a program to fund nonprofit groups.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.