Aiken City road maintenance fee starts in 2017, still improvements not happening anytime soon

A new Aiken City maintenance fee is going into effect in January, but road improvements won't be noticeable anytime soon.
A new Aiken City maintenance fee is going into effect in January, but road improvements won't be noticeable anytime soon.

AIKEN CITY, S.C. (WJBF) – Aiken City roads could be getting the much-needed face-lift they need.

Earlier this year the Aiken City Council approved a $20 dollar Maintenance Fee for road improvement. That fee will be going into effect on January 1, 2017.

The City of Aiken currently doesn’t have a road maintenance program, so potholes get ignored until city leaders can allocate money to fix them.

“They already charge for that somewhere. I know,” Aiken resident Shannon Hay told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Hay lives in the City of Aiken. However she pays a county Road Maintenance Fee that’s included in her property tax every year.

She tells WJBF NewsChannel 6 she’s not thrilled about another Maintenance Fee getting added to her taxes, for upkeep of city roads.

“So you’re not happy about this road maintenance fee?” Asked WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“No, I really feel like we should have been doing maintenance all along,” Hay said. “This is no surprise that the roads need to be maintained.”

Hay says she’s not opposed to having drivable roads, but feels the revenue this new fee will bring in could have just been taken from the funds collected by the county’s fee.

“Raise it a small amount, $5 to $10 dollars and see how far you can get with that.” Hay suggested.

There’s nearly 90 miles of city owned roads and with no maintenance program, the city had to come up with a plan to keep up with the aging infrastructure.

Aiken City Manager John Klimm says the $20 fee, per vehicle titled in the City of Aiken, would bring in close to $500,000 dollars a year.

It’s a start to tackling road improvements, but repairs won’t be noticeable for a while.

“The roads have been neglected for so long, that in the first year there might be an expectation that all of our city roads will be maintained and fixed. That obviously isn’t the case. It’s going to take some time to dig ourselves out of this.” Klimm told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The fee goes into effect in January of 2017, but revenue won’t start rolling in until the beginning of 2018.

For now the Aiken City Council plans to continue paying for road repaving from the city budget, as needed, like they always have.

In the next five years, an estimated 100 thousand people will be relocating to Aiken – to live, work and retire like Janet Bocchichio.

Bocchichio says getting around town on accessible roads needs to be a huge priority.

“When people retire they want comfort. They want to be able to relax and enjoy the rest of their life. So I’m thinking comfort, good roads is a part of that.” Bocchichio told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The Road Maintenance Fee is going to be imposed on next year’s property taxes.

So the soonest you’ll see it on your bill is December of 2017.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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