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Council Members Say Mayor's Budget Doesn't Fix Roads. They Want to Change That
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By Edward Smith
Published 11 months ago on
June 2, 2023

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Three Fresno City Councilmembers are telling Mayor Jerry Dyer to expect “hundreds of changes” to his budget as they seek to prioritize fixing city roads.

Councilmembers Nelson Esparza, Luis Chavez, and Miguel Arias held a news conference Friday to say they want to see more focus on repairing Fresno roads rather than simply patching them.

“This budget comes up short, particularly with investing in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of south Fresno,” Chavez said.

How Much Has the Mayor Put to Fix Fresno Roads?

Deferred maintenance for Fresno streets totals $800 million, Esparza said. And with limited resources for the city budget, Esparza said it will be difficult to add more money. Esparza said addressing neglected roads will require a shift in budget priorities.

Dyer’s budget grows the money for public works capital projects by 14% to $264 million. More than $105 million goes to special projects such as widening Herndon Avenue between Polk and Milburn avenues, grade separations at Blackstone and McKinley avenues, and an extension of the Eaton Trail.

Money to “slurry seal” roads would be boosted those projects by a half-million dollars to $2.1 million in all, and road paving operations would get $7 million in Dyer’s budget.

Estimates to repair the worst roads are as high as $1 million for a half mile, Esparza said.

Mayor Adds to Staff While Roads Go Unfixed: Arias

The proposed budget also adds two new pothole crews funded by Measure C and the mayor added $1.8 million to fix potholes. Arias said Fresno is too big to “simply fill a pothole.”

“They included two new divisions for the mayor’s office, one new division for the city manager’s office and none of these roads are going to be reconstructed,” Arias said.

Dyer Friday was attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Toledo, Ohio, and could not respond to requests for comment.

Two years ago, the city council changed how it decides which roads are repaired. Before, the cheapest repairs were done first, Arias said. The council switched to putting the worst roads at the top of the list.

“We need the mayor’s administration to work with council during this year’s budget cycle to reprioritize the neighborhoods that have been overlooked by previous administrations,” Esparza said.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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