CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The city of Charleston will spend nearly double the amount as last year on street paving, with the city's user fee paying for the entire project.
Council members approved a $1.1 million paving contract with West Virginia Paving Monday night. Last year, the city spent about $660,000, said Greg Hayson, city paving inspector.
Portions of 37 streets in 12 of the city's 21 wards will be resurfaced over the next couple of weeks, according to the paving list.
Sections of two alleys in a Kanawha City ward will be milled and repaved to deal with drainage issues.
"We're planning on paving nearly 10 miles of streets," Hayson said.
The city's user free is covering the entire cost of paving this year, City Manger David Molgaard said. The user fee brings in about $5.4 million a year.
It also pays for police service, Molgaard said. Without it, the city would struggle to pay for street paving, he said.
"It's essential to maintaining our infrastructure," he said.
About $1.6 million generated by the user fee has been placed in a maintenance line item in the budget to cover the cost of street paving and bridge and retaining wall repairs, Molgaard said.
Streets are selected on an as-needed basis. Workers in the city engineer's office look at streets and determine which ones are in need of repair, Hayson said. Engineers then evaluate the streets to determine which should be placed on the list for paving season, Hayson said.
Council members also can request that streets be paved, as can regular citizens, he said. Engineers will evaluate these requests before adding them to the list.
Engineers try to pick streets in all areas of the city rather than paving several in one ward or community.
"It's only fair," Hayson said.
This may not have always been the case, Councilman Bobby Reishman said.
Reishman, a Republican representing a ward in the Kanawha City and Loudon Heights area, said many years ago streets were picked depending on whose house they were close to or what councilman represented that ward.