Previously, in part one (link below) of a conversation during a Roads, Culverts, and Sanitation subcommittee meeting on Thursday, January 25, Ken Unger, HSVPOA Public Services Director, led a discussion on “2024 HSV Weather Disasters.” The subject of the subcommittee meeting was “Paving Roads,” and staff explained that recent weather disasters caused damages that affected the 2024 road preservation plan.

The previous report ended with the following verbiage: “‘We are still responding to issues. This isn’t really over because the rain has complicated things even further. That is what I am about to talk about today because that has caused issues with drainage and our road system,’ said Unger.”

Unger continued, “‘I asked to talk about paving today because we were going to lay out some of our [road preservation] plans and wanted to get direction from the Public Services Road, Culvert, and Sanitation subcommittee.”

“‘Mother nature has helped us refine our plan.'”

Ken Unger, HSV POA Public Services Director

Unger said, “The good news, as far as I can tell, is that our road efforts from the last year or so have held up. That is a good sign.” (Unger said he has not driven all of the roads.)

Road damage is not just limited to the village. Unger said many cars on Highway 30 blew out tires due to massive potholes. Unger has also heard reports on Hwy 5 and 7 and Hot Springs roads. It is all over the place.

Due to the storm damage to village roads, Unger has asked the subcommittee to help re-evaluate the 2024 road preservation plan. One area where Unger asked for committee evaluation was Cortez Road.

Advantages of Micro-Surfacing Versus Fog Sealing

Unger said they also have to figure out what kind of shape DeSoto and other major roads are in. This evaluation cannot be done during the rain. The group discussed the advantages of micro-surfacing versus fog sealing.

Unger asked, “Does any of this change what we want to do regarding Micro-surfacing [in 2024]? Is Cortez Road a candidate for micro-surfacing?” Unger requested that the sub-committee evaluate this road and share their expert opinions.

Broom said, “The issue with using fog sealing is that the dry time is much longer. Micro-surface dries a lot quicker. There are a lot of one-way in and one-way out streets off of Cortez Road.” There are no real reroutes, so it will be difficult to fog-seal Cortez.

“Micro-surfacing lasts three or four years longer than fog sealing,” said Broom, but Micro-surfacing is more expensive than fog sealing. There are four types of micro-surfacing with different thickness levels.” Broom said we would probably go out to bid for different types as it is not a lot of extra work for the contractors to give different bids in this case.

Unger told the subcommittee, “Tell me whether or not you think Micro-surfacing is a solution for Cortez Road. If fog sealing is that much cheaper, maybe we should fog seal it [Cortez] to protect it. It is in decent shape now, but oxidizing, and the crack sealing will only last a few more years.”

Due to Micro-surfacing being 30% more expensive than fog sealing, if we go with Micro-surfacing, we will not be able to preserve as many miles than if we go with fog sealing. We can’t do as much road, but it will be a longer-lasting product. “If we start moving toward a more reliable, long-term approach, we will sacrifice the amount of coverage we get,” explained Unger.

Larry Siener, Board Director and Committee liaison suggested the evaluation of Cortez Road by the committee members should be provided to Unger no later than the next Public Services Committee meeting in February or sooner, if possible.

We know we have areas in the village where the paving is subpar. A particular issue in the village is the roads where Superpaving was done. We have continuing struggles with these areas. The useful life of the Superpave is at its end, and it is starting to peel up. In the past, staff and a committee member walked some of the Superpaved roads. A full report listing all of the deficiencies was completed.

Unger said that $200,000 has been approved for cracksealing in 2024. An additional 1.25 M has been approved for other road preservation.

Doing Water Main Work Ahead of Road Work on Specific Roads

Unger said he is not pushing for a ton of money for road work right now because he wants to understand what we are dealing with on the utility side of the equation. “I hope that we get as much preservation as we can across the village over the next couple of years, and then we will have a real road program.

“We are told we should spend $5 to $7 M yearly on roads. We are spending $1.5 M or $1.7. That doesn’t get you a lot of reconstruction.”

Ken Unger, HSV POA Public Services Director

I don’t think we want to do a lot of reconstruction until we understand where we will be doing utility work and ensure we will not have a main blown up.:

“The change in plan helped me gain confidence that we are not going to have a lot more mains blowing up, but we still don’t know how much utility work we have to do,” stated Unger.

Paying for the Road Work

A committee member asked if we could use the emergency fund for road repairs.

Siener said, “I am not quite sure this would qualify as an emergency. Emergencies are typically massive issues such as a lightning strike that blows the water plant up or a tornado touchdown that damages facilities.”

Siener continued, “There is a baseline budget. There is $13 M in capital in the budget this year. That is an exceptional year because we are putting almost $4 M of additional capital, money that we carried over the last three or four years, into capital improvement. This is over and above what we could take on, based on revenue flow.”

“In Ken’s organization, he will have to look at his various capital projects and figure out what he is comfortable moving around if he can move it around. The second stop would be the broader capital budget across the POA. Is there the ability to rob Peter to pay Paul, to a certain extent? We were all in business; we all know how that works. And then, if we are out of luck on those, then we can go back to the Board to ask for distribution of additional funding with the appropriate rationale,” said Siener.

“Ken said it pretty effectively a minute ago, to really do the kind of mill and replace we have to do around here, it is probably $5 or $6, $7 M budget, just in the Streets Department.”

“This year, we had about $8.5 M of available money to put into capital expenditures across the entire POA. THIS WILL BE OUR BEST YEAR. The reason for that is that this is the last year of the assessment increase, so we have the maximum revenue from that. We also received a windfall last year because we were investing money. We made about $1.3 M in interest. $4 M of our accumulated funds will be going into capital this year. So, our investment pool will be $4 M smaller in 2024, and you can expect the interest rates to fall later in the year. THIS IS BASICALLY AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

“After that, we are stuck with the [Southern Region] CPI-based assessment change and with expenses of whatever they are. And I don’t know about you, but my 3.2% Social Security adjustment didn’t come anywhere near covering the increase in my personal expenses. The 2.8% CPI adjustment that would have been in place had we not had the automatic $10 increment [dues increase]; it wouldn’t come anywhere near covering our cost. So what is going to happen over the next 5,6,7 years is the revenue curve is going to continue to grow, but the cost curve is going to grow faster, and that gap, which is how much money we have to invest in capital projects, is going to get smaller and smaller and smaller.”

“Given this reality, if you expect $5 M in the Street’s budget in three or four years, I don’t see it. I really don’t.”

“We are at least ten years behind the power curve. So what we are going to be doing is a lot of bandaid work. We will do much of what we can to extend the roads for five to eight to ten years. We’re going to be kicking the can down the road. That is just our reality.”

Larry Siener, HSV POA Board Director and Public Services Committee Liaison
Mother Nature Affects 2024 HSV Road Plan Larry Siener
HSV POA Board Director Larry Siener speaks at a committee meeting.

Unger discussed shifting funds from “culverts” to “paving.” “I have a much better comfort level now that we solved the water main blow-up issue. The mains that were a problem are being repaired. My only caveat is that we have several force mains we have to run. We don’t want to touch the roads where we will be doing infrastructure work. We want to wait for road reconstruction or serious paving on those roads.”

Unger said, “Once we analyze how much damage is done and what it will cost us to repair it, I do think there is some room, given how much progress we have made on culverts, to shift some of that money if we need to this year. We’ll see how bad it is [the roads] a week from now when it dries out.”

“We will not know the full extent of the road damage until winter is over. Mother Nature changed our plans. We had some grandiose plans for things we wanted to do.”

Ken Unger, HSV POA Public Services Director

This year’s target areas for road work will be DeSoto, Barcelona, and Balearic.

Unger stated, “We are not going to go to the Board for approvals on Micro-surfacing until we understand the magnitude of issues on the main roads [storm damage]. Our budget may be used up on milling and replacing DeSoto, Balearic, and Barcelona.”

By Cheryl Dowden

Click here to read part one, “Unger Discusses 2024 Weather Disasters.” –

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Ken Unger
Director Public Services
Hot Springs Village