A few weeks ago, while strumming through a county commissioner’s email, I came across one from a Citrus Springs resident about the lousy roads. The writer mentioned the condition of six streets in her neighborhood, but not from a driving standpoint.
This is what she said about one street:
“Very dangerous, awful, potholes, cracks, dips, holes, crumbled road, patches on patches on patches. Very difficult walking. When the sun is in your eyes, you just can’t see these problems. Eventually someone is going to get very hurt. And it’s not good for cars either.”
She added: “You can’t just drive down these roads or look on the computer. You have to walk them. Then you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Citrus Springs folks, we feel your pain. I’m in Citrus Springs a lot and some of the streets there are unrecognizable as roads. Just a crumble of asphalt, weeds and, as the writer said, “patches on patches on patches.”
But the idea that the roads are a problem for WALKING, well, sorry but that just isn’t going to cut it. County commissioners are not going to be swayed to repave streets so people can more easily walk on them.
Hey, I get it. Neighborhood walks with friends, spouses, children and dogs is a great outdoor activity. I’m sure stumbling along some of these streets is annoying as heck.
But it’s a terrible reason to spend millions of dollars repaving a street. A walkable street may be the result of resurfacing but not the aim.
Another thing the writer mentioned is about the street being resurfaced when no one lives on them. A common misunderstanding in Citrus Springs.
There are two neighborhood road repaving programs: The one for Citrus Springs and everyone else (excluding the cities), and the one just for Citrus Springs.
The one for Citrus Springs and everyone else uses a formula that I could not even begin to explain. It’s a combination of road condition, density and whether there are utilities on the street.
Also, in a decision I kind of understand but only a little, the county divides the road projects into the five commission districts. While Citrus Springs has a vast majority of the worst crumbling roads, it gets just one-fifth of the funding each year.
I get geographic fairness, but that seems like a political decision and not a practical one.
Then there’s the paving program for Citrus Springs only.
Citrus Springs has an MSBU that charges $30 annually for a vacant lot, and $35 for one with a house. That money goes for beautification efforts (the Citrus Springs entrance off U.S. 41 is awesome) and about $300,000 a year for road repaving on top of what the county does.
But there is a significant difference. MSBU money must be used equally to benefit property owners whether they have a house or not. So, unlike the county which can set criteria that includes density, the Citrus Springs MSBU criteria is very simple: worst goes first.
Look. No one is happy with the neighborhood road situation, unless you’re a recipient of repaving. The county’s recent lackluster attempt to bring sales tax into the conversation fell flat, as it should.
County commissioners have an annual think tank session in early January. Expect this to come up, as it has in the past and will until it’s solved one way or another.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.