Taxpayers pay for mistakes

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King recently announced the list of streets the city’s Department of Public Works will repave this year at a projected cost of $1.4 million. In total, 13 sections of city streets are expected to be paved with blacktop, including parts of East Fulton Street, Main Street, and Kingsboro and Steele avenues.

Roughly half of the cost of the project will go toward constructing concrete curb cuts at the repaved intersections in order to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The money for the project will come from borrowing and from federal funding.

Some of these streets scheduled for repavement were surfaced only last year with the “oil and stone” method, which resulted in dusty roads and annoying stones that damaged cars and demoralized city residents. Although the areas surfaced with oil and stone, including Kingsboro Avenue, remain under warranty, the Common Council has chosen to repave them.

Looking back on it, it was a poor decision to use the oil-and-stone method on high-traffic city streets. The material seems best suited for a lonely country road. Repavement may be the best option at this point.

This debacle has illustrated how a series of bad decisions by government can lead to a waste of taxpayer money. The federal government should not have required a cash-strapped community such as Gloversville to engage in costly curb ramp construction, slowing down the city’s street repavement. If the federal government wants those ramps constructed so badly, it should provide additional funding for their construction. At the local level, city officials should have known better than to experiment with oil and stone on high-traffic city streets.

Unfortunately, local taxpayers now must carry the burden of borrowing money to correct mistakes and pay for overregulation.