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How to pay for road repairs in Southold Town?

Southold Town Hall

The state of Southold Town’s roadways has become the complaint heard most often from residents, Supervisor Scott Russell said Tuesday. 

And the Town Board will soon have to decide how best to address the distressed roads, which were seriously damaged by a string of harsh winters.

Mr. Russell said the town may be able to take out a $5 million bond for the repairs, but the move could affect the town’s strong credit rating, he said. And choosing to add just $2 million of that to the town’s annual budget would make the tax levy jump by as much as 7 percent, far exceeding the state mandated cap on spending increases.

The roads were damaged over the past three years, when cycles of freezing and thawing caused them to “heave” and break apart. Last fall, the Town Board was forced to add an extra $250,000 to the town’s highway budget to make necessary repairs before the winter.

Between the town’s own money and state-allocated funds, Southold Town roads underwent almost $1 million in repairs. That’s still not enough to undo the damage, officials said.

According to Mr. Russell, the highway department is working on a priority list of problem roads that need repair, which will be used as the basis for the road repair project. The Town Board will discuss the findings, and how to pay for the repairs, at an upcoming work session.

Photo Credit: Paul Squire