By John Filonow
YALE, Okla. —
“The roads are (in bad shape) in Yale,” said Jacob Green, who lives outside the town.
Monday’s Payne County Commission meeting will include a special session of the trustees of the Payne County Economic Development Authority to discuss a grant for a road project for Yale.
County Commissioner Jim Arthur said the $50,000 grant will probably pass.
Yale Mayor Terry Baker said the grant would pave and add curbing to Prairie Road, a gravel road going out to a new housing development.
Yale doesn’t have the money to fix all its streets, Baker said.
“That’s what we’ve been fighting for forever,” he said.
A 3-million sewer project — required by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality — has curtailed funding for other Yale projects, Baker said.
Yale will be paying off that loan for 30 years, he added.
The Yale City Commission, Baker said, could consider a sales tax increase for street improvements, but it hasn’t been placed on a commission agenda, yet.
Yale’s sales tax is 8.25 percent, and tax increases often are unpopular, Baker said.
“You just say tax and it’s hard to do anything,” Baker said.
Darrell McKinney Sr., a Yale resident, said the east side of Yale where more wealthy residents live has better roads than the west side.
“They’ve got lots of these grants, the roads are still bad,” McKinney said.
A paved road to the new addition on the west side of Yale will add revenue to the city, City Manager Clara Welch said. There are three new homes with utility meters in the addition. City utilities provide vital revenue to Yale’s town government.
There are spots for 18 new homes in the area, and “a house with meters is our livelihood,” Baker said.
Welch said she would like to see all the roads in Yale get repaired, but it wouldn’t be possible, as paving a two-block section costs $60,000 to $80,000.
“There’s no way all the streets are going to be in perfect condition,” Welch said.
Some improvement in the city could be just a matter of keeping properties cleaned, Baker said.
“We would love to get things cleaned up and cleared up where people would come in and build things,” he said.