Watch above: Higher taxes help City of Saskatoon get a handle on potholes
SASKATOON – 2014 saw the largest property tax hike in recent history, with Saskatoon residents paying 7.43 per cent more in taxes. The City of Saskatoon said a large portion of that would be used to improve road conditions and so far, the money is being put to use.
Approximately 2,800 tonnes of asphalt has been used to patch 160,000 potholes in hopes of making your drive safer and more enjoyable. The work got underway first thing in the spring with an extra $550,000 directed to the initiative.
“It made a noticeable difference in the streets and there’s no question that we got positive feed back from residents as a result of that,” said Pat Hyde, the city’s manager of public works.
Despite expressing satisfaction with the city’s pothole patching program, citizens do still have areas of concern.
This week the city released its annual civic survey which shows about 1/3 of residents do not feel they’re getting good value for their property taxes, citing residential street maintenance as one of the areas that could use improvement. The point was reiterated by a select few Global News questioned on Friday afternoon.
“The major streets are being done like Circle Drive there’s been quite a big improvement,” said one man.
“But the side streets still need a lot of improvement.”
The “Building Better Roads” campaign launched in 2014 includes more than $50 million to be spent on roads – an increase of 47 per cent from last year.
The additional funding has allowed for eight patching crews to run throughout the entirety of the season – all of which are being kept busy thanks to the city’s “report a pothole” map. On the city’s website, residents can use the interactive map to directly mark the location of potholes.
“We’ve had roughly about 3,700 potholes reported and we’ve completed the majority of those,” said Hyde.
Pothole patching is considered complete in 90 per cent of neighbourhoods.
Statistics for utility cuts, which allow crews access to underground lines, are not as promising. 456 remain outstanding, all of which are expected to be patched by the end of September.
The city says residents should also notice an improvement in back alleys, sidewalks and street sweeping as some of the additional funds were routed to those areas as well.