Buggies to be licensed? Haynak says it may happen

By Pat Maurer

Clare County Road Commissioner Dick Haynak gave a report to the Grant Township Board Tuesday evening which included information about a proposed State bill to license horse drawn buggies in Michigan.

He said he had contacted State Rep. Joel Johnson about the idea some time ago and that Johnson was planning to introduce a bill in September. Haynak said the bill would be modeled on similar bills in other states, and is aimed at raising funds for repairing road damage caused, especially on dirt roads, by horse hooves and steel buggy wheels.

He said the ruling, if approved by both the State House and Senate, would begin with a change to the State Constitution. If that happens, he said, then any county wishing to implement such a requirement would have to put it on a county ballot for approval.

Funds raised by the licensing or registration of horse-drawn vehicles would go back to the County Commission and then to the Road Commission.

County Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt said it “will be difficult to get a Constitutional Amendment. He also cautioned that the Amish Community might object to a licensing requirement.

The issue came up because of immediate damage caused by horse and buggy traffic to Dover Road, which was just resurfaced. “That damage is cosmetic,” Haynak said, and should not be noticeable after the road has been used by other vehicles. “It should smooth out and disappear,” he added.

Supervisor Dan Dysinger said that the two roads scheduled for resurfacing, Dover and Beaver/Maple Roads, are now finished and that all the crack sealing is complete. He said fog sealing will be completed by the end of the month.

The work this year will only complete one year of a ten-year plan developed by Roe Engineering to maintain the township’s roads. The study showed that costs to maintain the current road surfaces in the township would exceed $4 million over the ten years.

The board will host a public forum on the local road needs on September 23 at 7 p.m. to see if residents want to vote on a road millage in 2014. “That is the only way we will be able to continue with road maintenance, Dysinger said at an earlier meeting. “The board has a lot to consider,” he said Tuesday evening.

The township funded $330,000 in maintenance work to the  township roads this year, funds that were saved and earmarked for maintenance outlined in the plan.

Other business at the Grant Township Board meeting included:

*Approval was given for a change order on the contract with AMEC, the township’s environmental consultants, adding fees for a Department of Environmental Quality water test for “1,4-dioxane.

Dysinger noted that testing at the old landfill had resulted in “non-detects” on all contaminants. The total cost for testing this year will be increased from $3,000 to $8,500.

*A report from Treasurer Tammy Shea that the summer tax bills have been sent out and included notice of the meeting on road concerns September 23.

*Approval of a resolution of Availability of Deferment to pay taxes.

*Dysinger noted that the Board of Review Correction meeting, to clear up errors, will be held July 16 at 4 p.m.

*The second brining of township roads will be July 30th, Dysinger told the board. He said the first treatment averaged just under 2,000 gallons per mile and said he would check on roads that seemed to get a lighter coating.

*The payment of bills totaling $50,467.

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