As the mercury rides roller-coaster-like highs and lows, Prince George roads and drivers are paying the price.
Last week, city crews began adding pothole patching to their maintenance responsibilities that already include sanding and salting the winter roads.
"We have hot mix, we have cold mix and we are out patching potholes," said city street operations supervisor Mick Jones. "It's obviously not the best conditions for a long-lasting pothole patch, but at the same time there's some potholes that are fairly significant out there and we want to get those patched as quick as we can."
The patching materials are not coming out of this year's road rehabilitation budget, but were purchased at the end of last year's paving season before asphalt plants shut down in October, Jones explained.
"So we buy a supply of material that will get us through the spring because the asphalt plant won't open until probably May," he said. "So we purchase a quantity that we have in a covered storage building at the 18th Avenue Yard that we can use to patch holes and get us through the spring until the asphalt plants open."
One per cent of the proposed 3.5 per cent tax increase council is currently deliberating is to boost the city's paving budget by slightly more than $800,000.
Council tentatively approved the increase Wednesday night.
"I think council heard loud and clear last spring when the pothole season arrived that we weren't spending enough on road repair," said Mayor Shari Green, adding last year they weren't willing to increase taxes to pay for paving.
To supplement the $3.5 million paving budget, council approved the use of $1.9 million in reserve funds to boost the road fund.
"So this year we said we do need to bite the bullet. We really do need to target additional new dollars towards road repair," said Green. "What I've heard a lot from people in the community is, 'I'm happy to have my taxes raised if I know it's going to something that we need to have' and roads is a perfect example."
However, Coun. Albert Koehler voted against the plan, preferring to find the money from another source instead of boosting the tax levy above the rate of inflation.
He said he would rather keep the increase to the road rehab budget closer to $200,000 and find other sources from existing coffers, like the city did last year.
"Also I'm considering our current core review and what eventually is coming out of it - maybe not in the coming year, but the next year. So I think we should be careful, pumping up certain accounts too high, and with that causing a tax increase that probably is acceptable by many other councillors, but I don't like it so much," the councillor said.
The full road operations budget will come before council for approval at the Feb. 13 budget meeting.