Starke County Highway Superintendent Elaborates on Road Funding

Starke County will be able to implement plans to pave 123 miles of local roads with asphalt over the next decade without raising taxes, according to Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler. He presented options to the county council Monday. They include using money from the Local Roads and Streets and County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds to draw down a maximum three-to-one funding match from the state.

Ritzler says Starke County will need $571,250 in local money each year to draw down $2.2 million.

The road funding proposal approved by state lawmakers includes a 10-cent per gallon fuel tax. It will go up one-cent each year until 2024. Vehicle owners will also pay an additional $15 wheel tax to the state.

Ritzler says without a commitment to the local funding match, the tax paid to the state by Starke County residents will go elsewhere.

He adds the state will look favorably on Starke County’s asset management plan for roads and bridges when it comes to funding. Such plans assure money is being allocated wisely and will be spent on projects that are ready to go.

Ritzler’s presentation did not require a vote by the council during their meeting Monday, but it will be a consideration during the crafting of the 2018 budget.