The Public Works Department outlined plans to refurbish sidewalks and street gutters on sections of Center Street and First E. to the Rexburg City Council on Jan. 4.

Keith Davidson, Rexburg’s public works director, picks which street projects are worked on throughout the city every five years.

“We look at all the streets in the city and then we prioritize and say in the next five years, here are the streets that we want to reconstruct,” Davidson said.

Improvements on Center Street and First E. Street will likely begin in the spring and be completed by February 2024.

Financing Projects

The project on Center Street and First E. Street will cost approximately $2.8 million to complete. In order to fund these projects, the city must create a local improvement taxing district.

The city will pay 70% of the total cost, with the other 30% falling on individual property owners. However, the cost of the project does not pull from property taxes.

Noah Phethean, the city accountant, said, while it might make sense that property improvements would be covered by property taxes, property taxes are allocated differently in Rexburg and Madison County.

According to the city’s website, only 25% of a person’s total bill goes to the city and it is spent on funding the police, fire, and parks and recreation.

Davidson said once the district is created, the city will send out bids to sign a contractor for the project. Only the contractor signed by the city can replace the gutters. However, citizens living in the district can hire their own contractors to fix sidewalks on their property at lower costs.

City Council Response

Council Member Tisha Flora said the limited budget for streets impacts how often projects can be completed as well as the cost of each project.

“We have such a limited street budget,” said Flora. “We’ve tried to increase that budget every year and try to cover more percentage than we used to since we’ve been on the city council, realizing that it’s been a burden for our owners.”

Other members expressed hope that down the line the city would be able to pick up more costs of local improvement projects.

“We can make changes that are incremental,” said Council Member Bryanna Johnson. “I think the city could even pick up the cost of the curb. We can keep making changes because it does seem like it is pretty hard for a lot of residents.”