From the President
It’s now March on the mountain, and it appears that we have made it through the winter without tapping the county’s snow removal funds.
As you drive the mountain roads, you may have noticed some of the recent maintenance work that the BRMCA has coordinated with Prince William County Public Works Division, which maintains our roads. Over the past several months, a number of projects have been completed. The culvert under Gore Drive that connects to the fire pond was caving in and it has been replaced. A ditch at the top of Nelson and Mercer has been cut into the rock to keep water from overflowing onto the roadway and freezing into an ice patch. Many of our snow barrels have been replaced and the rest filled with gravel.
A portion of the service district tax that residents pay goes is for road maintenance, the rest of the tax goes to pay off the loan for paving the roads. With the mild winter, the county may have a few thousand dollars left over for some additional maintenance projects between now and the end of the county fiscal year, which is in June.
The BRMCA directors have been working with the Evergreen Fire Department and the Department of Forestry to provide better emergency access to certain parts of the mountain. Several roads do not have turn arounds at the end to accommodate emergency equipment. The fire department has identified some areas on the mountain they cannot safely access because of this problem: North Lookout, South Lookout, North Jackson, South Jackson, Judy Terrace, Summit, Warburton, Mercer, Duffy Drive and Duffy Court.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Director Jim Price, we have received a $7,500 grant from the Firewise Program to start work on. This grant has some limitations and we are working with the PWC Public Works department to identify how we can apply the money to make the necessary improvements.
The bond that BRMCA obtained in 2006 to pave the roads is nearly paid off. One more payment is due out of the next Fiscal Year (2013) budget, which starts in July. The board has recommended to the County that the tax be left at the same level next year so that the remaining bond payment can be made. This will leave additional funds which the BRMCA has asked to be applied on repairs to the roads.
Over the past six years, while paying off the bond, there has been very little money left for maintenance. As a result, there is a backlog of maintenance which the county much now catch up on. Mountain drivers will notice that there are places where the road is starting to break down. There are more and more potholes opening up which must be repaired. Those who drive Gore Drive are well aware of what I am describing. The ditches on the mountain have not been cleaned for six years, and many are starting to fill up, causing the problems that drivers were seeing at the intersection of Nelson and Mercer. The costs of maintaining the non-VDOT roads on the mountain are solely our responsibility, paid through the service district fee in the property taxes.
The BRMCA Board of Directors is chartered in the original roads maintenance agreement as a roads advisor to the county. It is the goal of the board to encourage the county to keep the roads in the best possible condition given the funds we have to work with.
The Board will continue to work with the PWC Board of Supervisors and Public Works Department in the coming months as they plan, prioritize and direct future road improvements on the mountain.
Our next Board meeting is March 18 at 12:30 pm at the Evergreen Fire Station.