December 5, 2021

Solon residents criticize town road maintenance

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

A sign designates a rough road on the seasonal-use portion of Lapp Road in Solon. Some residents are upset by road conditions but town officials say they are doing the best they can with limited funds.

SOLON — There’s a problem with the town roads in Solon, say residents George and Jerri Duane, who have lived on Lapp Hill Road for 24 years.

The Duanes and about nine other residents attended the Solon Town Board meeting this week to complain about the town’s roads.

The Duanes say their road and others are not maintained properly, leading to pitted and pocked roads and deteriorating shoulders.
“It has now become a hazard,” George Duane said Tuesday.

Jerri Duane said she almost collided head-on with a truck a few nights ago because deteriorating shoulders narrowed the road where she lives.

Town officials say the problem comes down to money; they just don’t have enough because they must keep taxes stable and balance needs. The highway budget takes about $300,000 of the town’s approximately $450,000 budget, town Supervisor Steven Furlin said.

“The bottom line is we are doing what we can with what we have,” Furlin said. “If you want perfectly maintained roads in a little country atmosphere, how are you going to pay for them?”

Part of Lapp Hill Road, off 41 is seasonal-use and not maintained all year. It is dirt and heavily pocked, with deep ditches off the side, ditches the Duanes say are too deep, allowing water to erode the road. The Duanes typically drive the year-round section of Lapp Hill to Mayberry Road to get to Route 41.

They say compounding the problem is that snowplow operators allow the edges of the blades to drag, scuffing up asphalt, something they’ve seen on Widger and Stillwell roads, too.

“We have people out there thinking they’re snow plow drivers and they really aren’t,” Highway Superintendent James Wildman Jr. said.

Lapp Hill Road needs a culvert replacement before it gets repaved, he said, which he hopes will be done next year.

Chris Bushnell of Cortlandville, who owns property on Lapp Hill Road in Solon, also brought his concerns before the board.

“I’m going to keep going until I get some sort of satisfaction as far as moving forward, what they’re going to do,” Bushnell said Tuesday.

The town can only do so much with what it has, Furlin said. Every year at the town’s reorganizational meeting, the highway superintendent proposes roads to repave, which the town board refines.

“It’s almost like you’ve got to wait your turn,” Furlin said. “But there’s no excuse for the lack of the continual maintenance, you should still fix potholes and do what you can on the shoulders and dig ditches, but it’s small town USA and a very limited budget.”

Next year, said Furlin, he would like to see Lapp Hill Road, Potter Road and Widger Road repaved.

“We know that with the budget and the tax rate the way it is, that everything is really kind of cut to the bone, so with the outlook of possibly the county raising taxes this year, we’ve tried to keep our taxes low,” said Town Council Member Patrick O’Hara.