HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - Huntington residents say the city's roads are in the worst shape they've seen in years.
"It covers my whole foot," William Sessions said."It's getting to the point where you can't even walk on the road."
Citizens of the small, quiet town said they have dealt with potholes for years but now they believe the holes are becoming worse.
"In the last two weeks, I counted 20 potholes, major potholes that were at least 9 inches deep and a foot in diameter on my block alone," resident Jay Garth said. "I think they have their priorities mixed up. We have buses that go down this street three times a day and it is not safe for the children on the buses."
Neighbors of Garth said the potholes have gone beyond being an eyesore and have now started hitting their pocketbooks.
"I've had three different alignments on my car in the last six months," Kisha Husband said. "It is getting ridiculous. There is no way to avoid them while you're driving."
Greg Sepulvado has taken matters into his own hands. Sepulvado said he has taken a shovel and used dirt from his yard and the ditches to fill in several potholes.
"We drive through them everyday," Sepulvado said. "I've bent my rims three different times."
City Administrator, Dale Brown said he understands that people in his town are upset.
"I agree with you," Brown said. "There is a pothole issue, and city council agrees there is an issue."
Brown said the city has set a five year plan up to start tackling the pothole problem. In the last fiscal year, the city budgeted $61,088 to street maintenance. This year, the city council has allocated $111,944 to the program.
"In the past we have not put enough of the budget to the roads," Brown said. "We're spending $100,000 a year rehabbing selected streets. The council raised property taxes slightly, approximately 8%, to generate additional money that is solely assigned to the street department rehab program."
Brown said streets that will receive work over the next five years are Arkansas, E. Magnolia, E. Spruce, 7th, E. Henderson, E. Franklin, Gipsonville, Ave. G, E. Mulberry, E. Lynn, Oklahoma, Arizona, E. Walnut, 6th, Kansas, W. Walnut, 2nd and Ave. A.
"It's not the best but it is as good as the city can afford right now," Brown said. "As it can afford better, the list will be upgraded on a year to year basis."
Brown said the team of 8 workers has tried to do some work already but pointed to the recent rain as the reason for the stoppage.
"The dry summer months are when we plan on doing the repairs," Brown said.
Brown also said the council is considering hiring an outside company to help with the street repairs."
"Filling in the potholes is not going to work," Brown said. "This is a long-term fix." My understanding is that red clay was used as the base about 30 years ago on many of these roads and that is not good for the roads. They were setting us up for failure thirty years ago."
Residents like Will Sessions believe it could already be too late.
"I'm not a road builder," Session said. "I don't know how you build them, but I know this is not the way or the way you maintain them for the people that pay the salaries of the people that are in charge. We elected them to take care of us and they are not doing a good job."
Brown said he hopes residents can be patient because the pothole problem that has been going on for years will not fix its self overnight.