VOTE GOOD ROADS! On February 11, 2020, Drew County voters will be asked to vote in favor of reinstating the 1 cent County-Wide Sales and Use Tax For Road Improvement Purposes and General Purposes for a period of six (6) years.
The net collections received will be distributed to Drew County with 75% of the Net Collections to finance the construction, reconstruction, restoration, improvement, alteration and repair of roads in Drew County; and 25 % of the Net Collections will be used to finance general operations of Drew County and for purposes of County Government.
In 1996, the original 1 cent road tax was approved by Drew County voters. Since then, roads such as Florence Road, Jose Chapel Road, Green Hill Road, Firing Range Road, Old Troy Road, Vincent Lane, Rose Hill Cut Off, Bordeaux Road, Old Warren Road, Campground Road, Campground Loop Road, Midway Route, Old Dermot Road and many others have been paved, most of which were formerly gravel roads. Gravel roads, such as Collins Line Road, have been improved, widened and have had drainage upgrades. All of this paid for with the 1 cent road tax.
This tax was up for renewal in June of 2019. Drew County Judge Robert Akin admits that “We didn’t do a good job of letting the people know that this was not a new tax, it was simply a continuation of one that has been in place for more than 20 years. The tax has been renewed a number of times, and the election back in June was just to extend it again, but we didn’t do enough to get the word out and some people believed it was a new tax. It is not a new tax.”
Drew County has 362 miles of county roads to maintain. Included in that number are 228 miles of paved roads and 134 miles of gravel roads. In addition, there are about 46 bridges which are 20 feet long which the county maintains on these roads and which the state inspects annually. Bridge inspections cost the county approximately $8,000 per year. Judge Robert Akin explained that “The county has tried to be a good steward of the road tax by paving the roads which serve the most people and residences and keeping roads primarily used for timber or agriculture in gravel to enable the Drew County Road Department to fix them with our own equipment and keep down maintenance cost.”. Drew County has purchased equipment such as graders, dump trucks, rollers and tractors with road tax funds which are used on a daily basis to maintain our roads and keep road rights-of-way clear. This equipment also requires maintenance and replacement at times.
The cost to pave one (1) mile of road in 2020 is, on average, $200,000 per mile, this includes repaving of roads. The cost to replace a twenty foot long bridge is approximately $100,000. Out of the 46 bridges in the county, 60% need to be replaced very soon.
Drew County experiences at least one storm each year. In 2019 the county was hit by two storms in the calendar year. The Drew County Road Department deploys its men, equipment and resources at each storm event to clear debris from the roads and to repair storm or water damage. Each storm event can cost at least $200,000 in added cost to the operations of the Drew County Road Department. For this reason, the county tries to keep the three-quarter cent dedicated road tax balance in reserve for such emergencies.
The 1 cent road tax is needed for keeping Drew County Road Department expenses out of the County General Fund (property tax millage). The majority of taxes collected from the Drew County Millage goes to operate our public school districts. The county receives 1.2 mills for roads and 1.8 mills for the County General Fund. (millage: 1 mill is 1/1000 of 1 dollar) All other county operations are funded with what’s left over from the millage/property tax. The 1 cent road tax has enabled the Drew County Quorum Court to keep Drew County Property Taxes (millage) low without considering a millage increase since 1996.
Your vote FOR the 1 cent County-Wide Sales and Use Tax For Road Improvement Purposes and General Purposes will keep our roads maintained and will keep our property taxes low. Vote FOR Drew County Roads.