DOH taking county taxpayers for a ride to fix certain roads

We’re going to restate the obvious.
When you reward an activity, you encourage it, be it the family dog or the state Division of Highways.
Feed your dog table scraps to make it go away. That solves the problem for a minute, but then they come back.
Collaborate on repairing a road with the DOH by feeding it added tax dollars or letting it off the hook for repaving a state road, you’re only encouraging it. That is, it will do a U-turn for more tax dollars to fix select roads or allow others to do the work, but stick to the slow lane to fix others.
And we suspect that paying off the DOH, in a sense, twice for repaving certain roads in Monongalia County only worsens the situation for roads in other counties.
Of course, if you live along any of these roads the county is “chipping in” to repave and repair, you are likely to have a somewhat different perspective.
We’re not opposed to negotiating with the DOH for roadwork, but we’re against paying it a “bribe” or doing its job for it.
All that said, the issue here is not entering into such agreements, but rather: Why are county taxpayers paying twice for repairing select roads?
Why should local taxpayers put up further local tax dollars for what we have already paid in state Road Fund dollars to help the DOH meet its obligations to our roads?
We asked this same question in early June when the Monongalia County Commission announced it was putting up $200,000 to “leverage” about $700,000 from the state for similar work to Chaplin Hill Road.
It also came up last year when the County Commission ponied up $150,000 to match the state’s $600,000 to pave and ditch the upper stretch of River Road.
Then this week, though the sum was marginal, the county entered into a four-way deal totaling $70,750 to repair Valley View Avenue, off Willowdale Road.
No one doubts the severity of this road’s condition, yet agreements with the DOH to single out one road for repairs using $17,690 in local tax dollars — the county’s share — is unfair and wrongheaded.
To a lesser degree, why is MUB party to this arrangement? Though $17,690 is a drop in its budget bucket, each of its customers’ roads could use $17,690. It already paid to improve the infrastructure for a new parking garage there. Why not require the garage’s owner to pay that portion?
The other two parties’ $17,690 contributions — a developer and WVU Medicine — appear to have their self-interest at heart. Nothing wrong with that. The one owns real estate and apartments on this road, while many students live along it.
Yet, if it takes a reward to leverage the state’s assistance to repave our roads, in addition to the revenues we already provide, we have lost sight of the obvious.
The trend or tread marks are clear: Monongalia County taxpayers are being taken for a ride.

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