Grant discusses possible millage, road needs

By Pat Maurer

Review Correspondent

The topic at Grant Township’s board meeting Tuesday was once again the condition of the roads and whether the board should consider placing a road millage on an upcoming ballot.

“When should we have a road millage on the ballot – 2013 or 2014?” Supervisor Dan Dysinger asked.

Township Treasurer Tammy Shea said the township would have to pay the total cost for a 2013 election. She recommended that the proposal, if the board agrees to have one, should be in August or November of 2014.

Dysinger said the board should wait to see what is decided in Lansing about local road funding before they make a decision. Dick Haynak agreed saying, “Nothing is etched in stone yet.”

Clare County Road Commissioner Richard Haynak was at the meeting and reported that he will attend the annual highway conference in Lansing soon. “We might get some answers there,” he said. “The governor’s plan to add gas taxes and increase registration fees is one of the things we will be looking at.   Trying to create this urban corridor is not going to be good for the locals,” he added. “The thing we are fighting for is to keep the funding level for counties.”

Haynak said the governor’s plan would increase the gasoline tax and add to the vehicle registration fees, but that most of the funds raised would be used for major roads, like the “urban corridor.”

“At one time we had $700,000 as matching money for township road projects. Today we have nothing.” Haynak said. “We just want our share of any increase in revenues.” He added.

Dysinger said the $330,000 in township funds that is earmarked for township road improvements this year would “only save [the roads] that can be saved.” He added, “The ten year study that we just had done will only cover maintenance to keep the roads in the condition we have today. It did not include any new paving projects.”

Next summer Grant Township will accomplish at least the first year of a ten-year road improvement plan outlined earlier by Rowe Professional Services Company, the Township’s Engineering firm.

In August the board heard a report from Rowe about the needs of the roads in the township. The report estimated that $3.6 million is needed for asphalt projects and another $650,000 for improvements to gravel roads and recommended the work be done over a ten year period.

The cost of the study, approximately $6,800 was paid for equally by the township and Clare County Road Commission, Dysinger said at the October meeting.

The Township Board voted unanimously at their December meeting to spend $330,000 in earmarked funds to improve 13.556 miles of paved township roads at an estimated cost of $277,644, with enough left over hopefully to improve one to two miles of gravel roads as well.

At the meeting Tuesday Dysinger added that, “The price to wait is terrible.” He added that prices for the projects outlined in the ten-year study have already increased. “It will cost substantially more,” he said.

Dysinger also told the board that he had attended the Public Road Commission meeting recently on funding and discussed with them a possible ordinance to limit truck traffic on township roads. “The Road Commission would have to approve it by resolution,” he said.

The township had determined to begin investigating establishing a township ordinance to limit truck traffic and protect some of the soon-to-be repaired roads at their December meeting. In January, Dysinger reported that Township Attorney William Fahey had said if the township adopted an ordinance, they would have to enforce it or hire the Sheriff’s Department to enforce it. He said that the Road Commission also has the ability to establish an ordinance, another option. “If the Road Commission adopted the ordinance, then they would be responsible for its enforcement,” Fahey wrote in a letter to Dysinger.

Other business at the brief meeting Tuesday included:

*Approval of 2.7 percent salary increases for board members: (Final approval by township residents at April 9 Annual Meeting)

01: Supervisor: $810.66 plus $225.00 monthly for building and grounds maintenance.

02: Clerk: $1,340.90 monthly.

03: Treasurer: $946.85 monthly plus 1.85 per parcel for summer tax collection.

04: Trustees: $124.80 per month plus $124.80 for each additional meeting.

*Approval to change wording in the Land Division Ordinance, removing “or signature of other individuals,” a change that will require a survey be done by the property owner seeking a land division. “This will protect all parties involved,” Dysinger said.

*During Public Comment Shea reported that Lincoln Sanitation had found a wallet and went to houses in that area to locate the owner and return it. “We are lucky to have them,” Dysinger said. She also reported that taxes are due in her office by February 28.

*Approval of monthly expenses totaling $14,370.26.

Budget Workshops are scheduled for February 25 at 7 p.m. and March 11 at 1 p.m. Approval of the budget will be March 12 at 7 p.m. prior to the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.