Heather Prezioso will give birth any day now to her second child. Money that she and her husband could have spent on the family -- more than $7,000 -- will go to the city of Rocky Mount instead.
"We feel like we have no option. We either put food on the table for our family or pay for the road," she says.
The money will pave Ridgewood Drive, one of many streets that the city is converting from gravel to asphalt.
The Prezioso's moved to their current home a year ago, but say they may have to cut their losses and move again.
"We were under the assumption that if it ever did get paved it would be paid by tax dollars," says Prezioso. "We do pay city taxes, so my question is 'Why don't they pay for these two roads to be paved?'"
City hall officials tell WRAL that this is a common in almost every city in North Carolina.
State highway improvements are paid by DOT tax money, but local city streets are paid for primarily by the people who live there.
Explain it all you want to J.G. Sykes. He says the $5,000 he will have to pay is a lot of money.
"It might not be [a lot] to some folks, but $5,000 is a year's salary for me," he says.
Neighbors here warn potential home buyers everywhere to ask a lot of questions, especially if your dream home has a gravel street out front.
One homeowner tells WRAL that Rocky Mount is giving people who live on Ridgewood Drive five years to pay the bill, at 8 percent interest.
The city says it does pay for some of the paving, but most of it is shouldered by homeowners.
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