Posted by Heather Rutz on Apr 13, 2018
Fees not keeping pace with engineer's infrastructure needs.
The Allen County Engineer’s Office is working with revenue from taxes that have largely not kept pace with today’s costs, Engineer Brion Rhodes told Lima Rotary Club Monday.
Rhodes, Allen County Engineer since 2015, spoke to Rotary, giving an overview of what his office provides and how the work is funded.
The Allen County Engineer’s Office is responsible for the maintenance of Allen County’s local highway system, which includes 352 miles of county roads, 550 miles of township roads.  The County Engineer is also responsible for the inspection, maintenance and replacement of 378 bridges and over 1,400 culverts of various sizes located throughout the county.  To maintain this complex system, the County Engineer works in cooperation with the 12 townships to help perform roadside mowing, snow plowing, drainage improvements and road maintenance. 
Rhodes has been with the Engineer’s Office since 1997, and was appointed chief deputy engineer in 2009. As the Allen County Engineer, Rhodes administers all aspects of design, construction and repair of our local roads, bridges and culverts in Allen County.
Nearly all of the office’s funding comes from fuel tax and license fees, 85 percent to be exact. The fees are a:
  • $5 permissive fee, last increased in 1968,
  • Ohio license plate fee, last increased 1988,
  • Federal gas tax, last increased in 1993, and
  • Ohio gas tax, last increased in 2005.
The proposed 10-year sales tax increase would provide $5 million to upgrade the county engineer’s facility, as well as $500,000 annually over the life of the tax for road and bridge repairs. That $500,000 would double the county’s current road repair budget. The Allen County commissioners are asking for a 0.2 percent increase to the county’s sales tax to fund capital improvements.