Brendan Trimboli is waiting for the day his street turns to dirt.
He lives on Weston Drive, which is near 24th Street between West Second and West Third avenues, a segment of road that is in some of the worst condition in Durango, according to a city evaluation.
Trimboli’s street has been in poor condition for years, something reaffirmed when the city of Durango performed its pavement index that rated every street in Durango on a scale of “very poor” to “excellent.” The segment of road Trimboli lives on is one of eight streets that are in very poor condition and require complete reconstruction.
“It’s a nuisance, but it’s not the worst thing in the world,” Trimboli said of the condition of the street he lives on.
Darin Sanders, branch manager at Wagner Equipment on Turner Drive, another segment of road that received a very poor rating, shares Trimboli’s sentiment: The condition of the road in front of his business is problematic, but it is not a detriment. It is not something that affects his business, he said, but it does give his employees some cause for complaining.
There’s a bump in the road about 20 feet from the business, something that semitrailers hit every time they leave the building, Sanders said.
“You can hear trailers hitting the bump,” he said. “It sounds like a really loud bang.”
While his employees complain about the condition of the road, Sanders said he doesn’t think anything will be done. It has been 10 years since he started working at Wagner Equipment on Turner Drive, and the road is in the same condition it was a decade ago, he said.
“I would assume the next 10 years wouldn’t be any different,” he said.
And as things stand, he may be right. Voters rejected ballot measure 2A earlier this month, a proposed tax increase that would have raised property and sales taxes to collect up to $7.5 million in revenue annually that would be used, in part, to pay for repairing streets and sidewalks. The question was rejected by a margin of more than 20 percent.
The city, with 2A failing, doesn’t have any money for major road projects, said Levi Lloyd, city operations director. That means roads that need reconstruction or re-pavement won’t get fixed, at least in the next year, he said. The city will fill potholes and seal cracks, but those maintenance measures are more of a Band-Aid when many of the streets need a suture or surgery – a medical metaphor for capital improvement projects.
The city invested about $6.7 million in capital improvement projects from 2014 to date, Lloyd said. But if no money is apportioned to pay for street reconstruction, the city could lose all the progress it made in the past four years as early as 2021.
“The condition of our streets is going to continue to degrade over the next few years,” Lloyd said. “Without funding, were putting ourselves in a position where we have to play catchup.”
The City Council isn’t lying down in the face of defeat. The board is hosting a series of listening sessions to meet with the public about how to solve the revenue deficit. At a meeting Monday, residents suggested the city appropriate revenue from the city parks and recreation budget to pay for streets and sidewalk infrastructure.
Trimboli said he voted for the proposed tax increase, but it wasn’t with full confidence. Some of his neighbors echoed the argument made to City Council – that the city has money elsewhere in its budget to spend on streets and sidewalks – a sentiment Trimboli said he could rationalize. The city was asking for too much without much specificity, he said.
“It does have to come with some amount of accountability,” Trimboli said of the proposed tax increase. “That was lacking from the public’s eye.”
Bruce Heller, who lives on North College Drive, a segment of road in “poor” condition, said he disagrees with the city’s analysis of the street he lives on. The heavy traffic is more of a nuisance than the condition of the street, he said.
And as for fixing the streets, Heller said the city has the money; it just mismanaged it. He said he voted against ballot measure 2A.
“I think the city could make some austere moves and live within their budget,” he said. “I think they need to trim the fat.”