Leesburg Uses Local Option Gas Tax to Improve City Roadways

For years, Jess Poplin watched the graying asphalt roadway subtly age in front of his home and manicured front yard at The Meadows community off of U.S. Highway 27 in Leesburg. Ginger Circle had begun cracking in some areas, and tiny bits of gravel consistently washed away from the road surface into his driveway.

It was time for some well-deserved street repair.

The Leesburg Public Works Department recently resurfaced Ginger Circle as part of its annual program to maintain city streets and extend their service for years to come. The work is funded completely by a local option gas tax, which Lake County Commissioners are expected to consider for partial renewal at a meeting in December.

“I couldn’t think of a better use for a tax like this,” said Poplin, who is part of a 39-home association of property owners at The Meadows. “A lot of folks here are very excited about the new road – it definitely brings pride to the neighborhood and adds value to our properties.”

This year, Leesburg utilized the gas tax to fund $575,000 worth of street resurfacing and repairs. The roadwork, which in contracted to C.W. Roberts Contracting Inc., started in late July to address portions of 26 city streets. The company has paved 55,000 square yards of roadway lanes in both residential and business areas of Leesburg including parts of Center, Webster, Pine, Gibson and Crosby streets. 

Each year the city prioritizes streets that most need maintenance because of potholes, cracking and potential safety concerns. 

In some cases, the top portion of existing roadway is removed before a new layer of asphalt is added. This often ensures that the new roadway properly directs rain away to the shoulders and into storm water collection systems. 

Resurfacing is a cost-efficient way to maintain roads at about $98,000 per mile. Building a mile of new road costs up to half a million dollars. 

Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.