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MSB Road Service Areas explained

denali hwy crosses susitna river

Helpful article posted on the Butte Community Council Facebook group in 2016.

(I think the info is originally from a report on the MSB’s website.)

by Mike Shields, Primary RSA Supervisor
What is a Road Service Area (RSA):

The MatSu is a second-class Borough, and by State code must manage its roads through establishment of RSAs, which are tax revenue generating units of the Borough with boundaries defined in the code. There are 16 RSAs in the Borough, each having a 3-member volunteer Board of Supervisors. The Boards are advisory bodies providing a citizen link between the Borough and the RSA residents. To qualify as a Supervisor a person must be a registered voter and reside within the RSA. Supervisors are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Assembly for a 3-year term and must reapply to the Mayor to serve additional terms. Each Board elects one member as Primary spokesperson for the Board.

RSA 26 extends from the ridgeline north of Smith Road to beyond the Twin Peaks subdivision on the Old Glenn, and includes the Knik River valley east to Hunter Creek.
Your current RSA Board: Mike Shields, Primary, 746-2515
Lucy Klebesadle, 1st Alternate, 745-5829
Roy Nuttal, 2nd Alternate, 746-2607
What is a Road Superintendent:

A professional Borough Public Works employee in direct charge of all road maintenance and repair within several assigned RSAs. The Superintendent works closely with the RSA Board to identify and prioritize work, and is the person having the authority to authorize work, obligate funds, accept or reject work performed, and deal directly with contractors.
Your current Road Superintendent: Will Barickman, 861-7759
How is an RSA Funded:

Property taxes are levied by the Assembly for each RSA based on Borough code and the annual RSA budget adopted by the Assembly. The Assembly annually approves all RSA mil-rates. The Borough maintains a separate fund for each RSA, and all tax revenues must be expended exclusively within the RSA generating them. Any tax revenues not spent in one year are placed in a Fund Balance account for that RSA and carried forward to the next year, but cannot be spent until appropriated by the Assembly for use by the RSA.
If an RSA lacks enough funding to cover its maintenance and/or repair costs, at RSA Board request the Assembly may establish a Revolving Loan Fund out of annual Borough operating funds to allow that RSA to function. The Assembly sets the loan amount, the interest rate, and time limit for repayment, and may increase the RSA’s mil-rate if necessary to assure loan repayment.
Can I Opt In or Out of an RSA:

RSAs are community-service, not individual-service, units of the Borough. To join or withdraw from an RSA is a process of changing its “community boundaries”, which is initiated by a petition to the Borough Clerk signed by persons who in aggregate own at least 51% of the property in the “community” wishing to join or withdraw. The Borough Manager prepares a feasibility recommendation and presents it to the Assembly, along with a draft Ordinance placing the question on the next regular election ballot. If the Assembly supports the Ordinance, the ballot question will be in 2 parts, one for the residents of the existing RSA and one for the residents in the “community” wishing to join or withdraw. A 51% vote to approve is required on both questions.
What is “Maintenance” and How is It Performed:

Maintenance is the annual upkeep and minor repair of Borough-certified roads within the RSA, including grading, drainage, pothole and washboard repair, brushing, snow removal and sanding, and pavement sweeping. The bulk of the work is accomplished through a competitive-bid contract (low bid prevails), which sets the quality, quantity and timing requirements, and is managed by the Road Superintendent. Any work done outside the terms and limits of the contract, and authorized by the Superintendent, is paid for out of Optional Maintenance (a small account in the RSA budget to cover non-routine work). The contractor’s monthly invoice is reviewed by an RSA Board member and the Superintendent prior to submittal for payment. Some maintenance work like signs, paved pothole patching, spot brushing, down tree removal, etc. is done by a Borough crew at the Superintendent’s direction and charged by task order to the RSA.
What are “Capital Improvement Projects” (CIP) and How are They Performed:

These are repair and upgrade projects beyond the scope of annual maintenance, and may apply to a single problem location on a road, an entire substandard road, or an entire substandard subdivision. They normally require survey and design work, some relocation of poorly placed utilities, and subgrade as well as surface and drainage repairs, and are separate competitive-bid contracts. They are funded through a combination of RSA budget amounts, State or Borough matching funds, and State or other grants which may be available. A list of CIP projects is prepared annually by the Superintendent and RSA Board, showing both funded and unfunded (future years) projects, and this list must be approved by the Assembly each year.
How are CIP Projects Prioritized:

In this RSA the Board of Supervisors, in coordination with the Road Superintendent, uses a 2-step numerical rating system we developed in 2006. Step #1 is an on-site inspection of the road to objectively compare its condition to the Borough Road Standards; it looks at road and shoulder width, alignment, location within (or not) its ROW, drainage system components and function, grades, turn radii, surface and subsurface conditions, sight distances and signage. The resulting physical condition score constitutes 59% of the Step #2 rating which incorporates Average Daily Traffic flow, safety and quality of life issues, number of residents served, and projected cost relative to fund availability. The Step #2 numeric score is used to establish the prioritized CIP list each year. Two factors which can alter the specific year in which a project gets done are (1) the availability of non-RSA funds, like grants, for the project, and (2) insufficient funds available for a particularly costly project, in which case it may be postponed or phased over 2 or more years.
What is “Dust Control”:

The term means the sealing of a gravel road surface to reduce or eliminate the loss of fine particles as traffic-caused dust, but it also refers to a Borough program that provides for a 50:50 fund match from non-RSA funds and is partially funded by Vehicle Registration taxes from the State. Sealing methods include calcium chloride, recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), chip-sealing, and full hot-asphalt paving. Due to their cost and eligibility for matching funds, dust control appears on the CIP list.
This RSA is now avoiding the use of calcium chloride in most instances since it works well only on silt-rich gravel surfaces and has a functional lifespan of only 2 to 3 years between applications (our actual reapplication schedule is currently 5 to 7 years due to that accumulating cost). RAP and paving are more expensive initially but have a functional life 7 to 10+ times longer and are much cheaper to maintain, so we’re now most likely to use RAP rather than calcium chloride, particularly where it will protect any repair/upgrade investment.