The dirt path that runs just west of Louis Cintron's home is a constant source of frustration for the Mastic man.

The earthen road -- Roberts Street on town maps -- is plagued by reckless drivers, rain that turns it to a muddy mire, and standing water that invites mosquitoes to lay eggs in summer, Cintron said.

"Every once in a while, my neighbor will come out here, and we'll dig people out," Cintron said. "It's horrible."

The street is one of a network of short dirt roads in the Mastic area that Brookhaven Councilman Daniel Panico wants the town to pave.

The venues -- some municipal streets owned by Brookhaven and some cut-throughs on private property -- are a safety hazard and a liability for the town, Panico said. He plans to propose a resolution at Brookhaven's board meeting Tuesday that would allow the town to turn the pathways into paved streets.

Brookhaven can hire a contractor to pave the publicly owned streets, but the town would have to acquire then pave the privately owned roads, Panico said.

He was unsure how much the effort would cost, but said he has $900,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bonds to help fund the project.

The public dirt roads are streets the town never paved, Panico said, adding that some have existed for decades. All of the dirt roads probably total about a mile of road, he said.

"It boggles my mind that in 2011 we should have these small dirt roads that are either unsafe or unsightly and, in my view, are in need of paving or closure," Panico said.

Panico's proposal is likely to meet skepticism in town hall, said Councilwoman Connie Kepert, who cited the town's financial trouble. The town is considering a host of service cuts to make budget this year, and adding a potentially expensive road project seems unlikely, Kepert said.

Paving the roads might be possible if the recovery bonds cover the project, Kepert said.

"It might be a very worthwhile project, but I think with the budget the way it is, we certainly don't have the funds" to take it on, she said.

Brookhaven's highway department maintains the public dirt roads, said Lori Baldassare, the town's deputy highway superintendent. The department would have to maintain the newly paved roads, and money could become a concern, she said.

"As far as taking on more roads, circumstances may not allow," she said.

But Panico said failing to maintain the dirt streets could be much more expensive if someone is injured in an accident and sues the town. The roads enable some drivers to drive recklessly in the dirt -- an activity called "baja-ing" that can result in injury, he said.

"These roads need to be built from the ground up," Panico said. "Or from the mud up."

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in Brookhaven Town Hall at 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville.

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