MANSFIELD -- Richland County roads are likely to see more new asphalt and less chip-and-seal resurfacing in 2020, according to county engineer Adam Gove.
During a 2020 budget hearing with county commissioners on Tuesday morning, Gove said increased county revenue from a 10.5 cents per gallon gas increase approved by the state this year will allow for longer-lasting road improvements.
The gas tax increase is expected to bring in just over $1 million in additional revenue into Richland County in 2020, helping to care for 347 road miles and 360 bridges.
"The biggest thing you will see is more asphalt," Gove said. "For the last 15 or 16 years, we have done pretty much all chip-and-seal resurfacing. We have got to change that. That's not a treatment that will last as long as asphalt.
"In addition, the asphalt underneath that chip-and-seal is going bad, as well. We just finished a resurfacing on Bowman Road and that's a good example of a road that was falling apart that you can't just chip and seal," Gove said. "You have got to the material off that's coming apart and put down new asphalt."
Funds will also go to bridge repair/replacement and better signage on county roads, Gove said. The engineer's $6.6 million, non-general fund budget for 2020 could erase the carryover it had going into 2019.
"I am not comfortable with that, but that's how I set up the budget," Gove said. "This is a worse-case scenario. Throughout the year, we look for savings. Hopefully, we have a lighter-than-normal winter and we maybe save on salt. If we have a harsher winter, we spend more on maintenance of trucks, more on salt and gas."
The general fund portion of the engineer's budget is expected to increase to $418,007, up from 380,055. The increase, Gove said, will largely come from adding a staff member to the tax map department with an anticipated retirement in 2021.
In a separate budget hearing on Tuesday, commissioners met with Richland County Park District Director Jason Larson, who is anticipating about a 4 percent increase in 2020, most of which will come from increasing the hours of the B&O bike trail manager to 20 hours a week from its current 10 hours per week.
The parks department expects to spend about $226,198 in 2019, which Larson would like to increase to about $236,000 in 2020. There are 18.2 miles of bike trail in Richland County, stretching from North Lake Park in Mansfield to Butler.
Budget hearings continue Thursday, including the Richland County Common Pleas Court and the sheriff's department. A temporary budget for 2020 must be complete by Dec. 31.