Raisin Twp. seeks options for road work, repairs

By: 
JACKIE KOCH

One of many potholes on Billmyer Highway. Photo by Jackie Koch.

Repairing Raisin Township’s roads is one of the township board’s goals, and with the help of the community, taking a country drive will be a smoother, more pleasant experience. According to Township Supervisor Dale Witt, getting there will be a process of information gathering and letting residents have a say in the matter.

Responsibility for the 92 miles of roads in the township falls on the Lenawee County Road Commission, but without the help of the township, road repairs would not be possible. “I think there’s been a lot of misconceptions out there,” Witt said. He said the headlines may show road funding coming from the state, but when it finally gets down to the local road commissions, local roads only get 25 cents on the dollar based on Act 51 and the distribution of the formulas.

The township has two classes of roads, primary roads and local roads.

A previous special assessment district (SAD) that lasted through the end of 2018 provided money for local roads through a $95-per-parcel cost to residents. Renewal of that SAD did not receive support to allow a vote at a recent board meeting, and the board discussed alternatives to fund road repair.

“We’re going to move ahead,” said Witt. “There are a lot of different combinations and tools that we can use. We can establish millages, we can establish more localized SAD districts like just for the subdivisions. Also, we’ve got money we can contribute from the general fund.” He said he is working with the road commission to get an overall estimate on what repairs are left to do on local roads.

Over the last five years many of the commonly traveled roads have been repaved. The township contains 67 miles of local roads and 25 miles of primary roads. Of the local roads, 31 miles are the more commonly traveled roads. There are 18.5 miles of subdivision roads and 17 miles of gravel roads. “It was always the intent of taking care of everything, but we had to start somewhere, and we started with the more commonly traveled roads and did a really great job over the last five years,” he said.

The township hopes to partner with the county to further the repairs. Money from gas taxes increased in 2015 by Governor Snyder, as well as higher automobile registration fees, is now being distributed to county road commissions. “They’re willing to contribute a little bit more to each of the townships for their road projects,” Witt said.

The next step to funding better roads in the township is to look at what residents want. Witt said the board heard from several residents at an October 9 public hearing. “Based on the public hearing comments, most of the people wanted to have input on issue, in other words, having a voice and voting on it. So we’re probably going to be looking at some type of a millage campaign to be able to do that,” he said. He will continue to collect costs and gather information on what can be done.

The board may decide to set a millage vote on the ballot for an upcoming election. The first option is the presidential primary in March, which Witt said may be too soon to get an informational campaign out and sufficiently inform the public. The next option would be to place the millage on the presidential election ballot in November 2020, and since taxes from a millage could only be gathered from a winter tax bill, that election date would suffice.

Witt said the previous SAD funds raised did not go to improve the primary roads in the township, which are taken care of by state and federal funds. “What we did is strictly the local roads,” he said. “We started with those that are most commonly traveled, asphalt-paved roads just to get this going. We never forgot about subdivisions, and we never forgot about gravel roads, but we just had to start somewhere in the whole project.”
 

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Tecumseh Herald

 

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