WILLCOX— Willcox City Manager Caleb Blaschke presented his trucking route ordinance proposal to members of city council on Jan. 20 before the ordinance achieved unanimous approval from city council and was formally adopted as a public record.
“The City hired a consultant that evaluated our roadways one and a half years ago,” he said. “Based on federal metrics for pavement scores (Pavement Condition Index), 24% of Willcox roadways are failed to poor, the average city has only 12%. Willcox roadways scored 49% as satisfactory and good, the average is 66% in other cities. The past 10 years, the city has contributed an average of $106,815 per year. The consultants’ study stated for city to bring all roads into the satisfactory and good category, it would cost the city $5,140,000.
“This amount would be city staff performing the work. With limited city staff and time, many roads would need to be contracted out to private companies so a more realistic number to bring all of Willcox roadways into a satisfactory and good category would be closer to $10 million to $15 million. At the completion of the study, the council established priorities to include: ordinance for truck routes, replace water and gas pipes as roads are replaced, explore garbage truck routes, identify appropriate areas for chip seals, pavement, and concrete and establish a Street Preservation Policy.”
During the meeting the following areas of concern with regards to trucking were identified and added to the top of the new city ordinance in the Willcox city code, titled “Chapter 12.06, Truck Routes under the grouping “recitals”: “Many Willcox roadways are in disrepair and the city has limited funds to fix them; Willcox City Council has proactively sought to fix roadways and has invested hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to achieve this goal; the City Council desires to preserve, maintain and safeguard city roadways; many roadways lack a base and are chip sealed; trucks with three or more axles and measuring 36 feet or longer in overall length, including truck and load, which are designed and used primarily for carrying property have been proven to have adverse effect on roadways.”
To address these concerns the city has put together the following rules in their truck routes ordinance: “The use of public roads with the City of Willcox is to serve the daily needs of its citizens. In doing so, safety, congestion, noise, long-term maintenance and road funding are a prime concern. The truck route is designed to address these concerns by limiting truck traffic on local streets. While this may be inconvenient for some businesses, it benefits the community as a whole.
“Trucks must operate only on truck routes as identified by the Truck Route Map highlighted in yellow. The City Manager or designee is authorized to install adequate signage along truck routes and restricted ones, as needed.
“The truck route ordinance is one of many methods used to preserve local roadways. Unfortunately, many users of Willcox roadways reside in Cochise County. For these road users, the City does not receive property taxes or state-shared revenues including Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF).
“Which is the source of funding Arizona cities use for street maintenance and preservation and is based on population count. The City receives approximately $330,000 in HURF for the street departments. Once streets staff is paid, there is not much remaining. This has resulted in the city earmarking 33% or $685,000 of our sales tax for the Streets Division for street preservation and maintenance,” Blaschke added.
To enforce the rules in this new ordinance the city has stated the first violation shall be a Class 2 misdemeanor. A second violation within six months of a proceeding violation shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Any violation of this Chapter 12.06 shall be enforced pursuant to Title 19 of this Code.”
The new ordinance also repeals all other conflicting ordinances, let alone “parts of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance or any part of the code adopted herein.”
In addition to the three copies of the ordinance being held by City Hall, a full copy of the ordinance can be found on the City of Willcox’s website under recent news.