Hamilton to allow residents to pick which roads get repaired if levy passes

Crumbling roads are an age-old problem in communities across the country, but what if you had the power to decide which roads in your neighborhood would get fixed first? (Citizens for Hamilton)

HAMILTON, Ohio (WKRC) - Crumbling roads are an age-old problem in communities across the country, but what if you had the power to decide which roads in your neighborhood would get fixed first?

In Hamilton, that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. Fifty percent of Hamilton's roads are in poor condition and most are in residential areas. A $4.9-million, 10-year tax levy could change all of that.

"This levy is going to be vital for putting funds back into our neighborhood streets,” said Aaron Hufford, chief of staff for the city of Hamilton.

"A hundred percent of the funds will be able to be decided by the citizens what streets in their neighborhood get repaired first,” said Troy Schwable, who chairs the Citizens for Hamilton Committee.

Schwable and Hufford hope giving neighbors the power of choice will increase civic engagement while also fixing the roads.

“This should be one of those 'aha' moments for everybody,” said Schwable. “This just doesn't happen. I mean, city decisions are made every day in offices to have things done without a lot of citizen input."

The road funding will be split evenly between Hamilton’s 17 different neighborhoods depending on the percentage of streets in that community. For example, if Highland Park has 10 percent of the city’s streets, then Highland Park would get 10 percent of the funding.

"We want to empower them and let them make the decision because, at the end of the day, we want the funds to go where our residents want to see those funds go,” said Hufford.

It’s city government giving power back to the taxpayers.

“At the basal level, every resident can come to one of these meetings in their neighborhood and help decide which streets are taken care of,” said Schwable.

Hamilton’s city council unanimously passed the resolution Wednesday evening. The next step is for the levy vote, which will take place on May 7.

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