Their compensation dropped about 90% 12 years ago.
Thurmont, Md (NS) When asked what complaint he hears the most from residents, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird said it’s roadways.
“Everybody’s road has a couple bumps in it,” Kinnaird said.
Their issues stem from a lack of funds to completely resurface roads. He believes many issues start when a smaller repair has to be made and then, due to funds, you just patch the road.
“The best thing to do would be to mill the whole road off and then repave it.” He added, “We’ve got probably 15 streets in Thurmont that would require that. We just don’t have the money on hand to do it.”
So where is the money?
Kinnaird said the State of Maryland gives towns and jurisdictions funds from the Highway User Revenue. These funds are essentially taxes on gasoline, diesel, driver’s licenses and license plates.
About 12 years ago, he said, the percentage Thurmont received changed, “We were getting something on the order of $500,000 a year… until they dropped it down to almost 10%.”
At one point, Kinnaird said what would have been $400,000 turned into $40,000 a year.
He said that hurts, “Over the last 10 years, we’ve probably missed out on 5 or 6 million dollars on Highway User Revenue that we could have been using for fixing our roads.”
Kinnaird believes that has been a disaster for Thurmont and many other cities in the state.
To put it into perspective, he said, “To blacktop 4 or 5 blocks of a roadway, it’s $260,000.”
More recently, Governor Larry Hogan increased the percentage of funds jurisdictions get from Highway User Revenue.
“He increased it I believe to 85%. It’s supposed to be 90%. But then we have to go back I think in 2 years and renegotiate the whole plan,” Kinnaird said.
Due to the increase, he says Thurmont receives around $350,000 in Highway User Revenue, but it is still not enough.
Even though a new deal will have to be worked out in 2 years, Kinnaird says it’s worth the effort to keep the roads in good condition.