Huntingburg driven to correct street inventory

Herald Staff Writer

HUNTINGBURG — The City of Huntingburg has discovered that several streets are missing from its recorded inventory, and subsequently the city has been receiving less funding from the state than it should have been.

Street Superintendent Jason Stamm informed the Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety on Thursday that about two miles of roads the city maintains are missing from the Indiana Department of Transportation’s records. Some of those sections are also absent from the city record.

“Over the winter, we went through and evaluated all the streets in town,” Stamm said Thursday afternoon. “We started looking at spreadsheets and comparing notes. We started to notice stuff was missing. After we caught one, we started looking for others.”

The city is supposed to report to the Indiana Department of Transportation each year if it has accepted any new streets into its inventory. The total mileage of roads is used in calculations for the distribution of motor vehicle highway funding from gasoline taxes and for local road and street money from state funds. Fewer miles means fewer dollars received.

Stamm and City Engineer Brian Small compared a map of city streets INDOT had on record and the city’s geospatial-information system maps to find the missing pieces. Sections of streets as well as entire streets are unrecorded.

In all, 14 city streets totaling 9,770 feet, about 1.85 miles, haven’t been recorded properly. Streets missing from both the city and state listings include Third Street from Cherry Street east to the city lot, Fifth Avenue, Seventh Street from Chestnut Street to Styline Drive, Geiger Street between 13th and 14th streets, Highland and Woodland drives, Orchard Lane and Pinewood Court. Streets listed in city records but absent from the state’s are Cherry Ridge, Douglas and Northview drives and Dean, Duane and Fox Trot courts.

Huntingburg’s total street mileage was certified by INDOT in 2012 at 39.61 miles without those 14 streets.

Small said Seventh Street from Chestnut Street to Styline Drive was accepted by the city in 1992 but never was reported to the state. The last report made to the state adding road mileage was 10 years ago, he said.

“The state doesn’t say who should be in charge of reporting new roads in the inventory,” Small said, noting the documents had previously been submitted by the street superintendent and by the planning director. “Somewhere along the line, these roads didn’t get reported to the state. We don’t know what happened.”

Stamm said the street department has been maintaining many of the roads for years. He said there’s no way of knowing how much funding the city has lost out on, as the numbers change year to year based on various factors like gas sales and the total number of local road miles in the state.

“Per year, it wouldn’t be a big chunk, but if you add it together for all those years, it could be a good amount,” he said. “It may not have been enough to blacktop another street, but it may have been enough to get something else done.”

Stamm is trying to correct both the city code and the state’s records to show every street the city maintains.

“The funding thing is the major part of it,” he said. “We want to get what’s rightfully ours. We’re taking care of these streets and we need to be getting what we deserve on it.”

While the increase in mileage and subsequent funding may not be much, Stamm said he is examining every possible avenue for additional street funding because budgets get tighter every year.

“Every little bit helps,” Small said. “It will be interesting to see what it actually amounts to.”

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