By Pat Maurer
Grant Township’s efforts to save their roads from heavy truck use, especially by detour traffic during road projects, have hit a snag.
Road Commissioner Dick Haynak said the Commission would not consider adopting an ordinance limiting township use by trucks.
Supervisor Dan Dysinger, on the advice of Township Attorney William Fahey, had met with and asked the Clare County Road Commission to consider adopting an ordinance to prohibit heavy truck use on some township roads.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Haynak gave three reasons why the CCRC wouldn’t consider the ordinance: first that there is no funding for signage that would be needed (approximately $1,000); second that it wouldn’t be fair to the other townships; and third would be the enforcement of the ordinance. “We felt it would be best if we stayed away from it,” he said.
Dysinger said the ordinance would benefit the county as well as the township. “If another township wanted to limit traffic on certain roads, it would already be in place for them,” he said, but they don’t have to use it.
When questioned, all of the board members said they would be willing to pay for the signage if money was the main issue. “We are already paying for all our own road maintenance,” Treasurer Tammy Shea said.
“We are not so worried about an occasional truck,” said Township Trustee Marge Bell, “It’s when the State uses our roads and tears them up then won’t take responsibility for ruining them.”
Township resident Merle Harmon said about the enforcement comment, “I don’t see why that is an issue. I don’t understand their (the Road Commission’s) logic. I think it is a no brainer, the County should stand behind the Township on this.”
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, Fahey told Dysinger that if the township adopted an ordinance, they would have to enforce it or hire the Sheriff’s Department to enforce it. He said then 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.
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.
That would 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.
Dysinger said earlier that 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.”
Last month the board discussed the possibility of a millage to raise more funds for township road maintenance and repair. They agreed that 2014 during a regular election would be the best time for a millage proposal if they decide to draft one.
Shea said, “How can I ask voters to approve a millage for roads when our work might be ruined in just a couple of years? I can’t do that.”
Last 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.
Last month Dysinger said, “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.
In another matter the board gave their approval to a consulting contract with AMEC Environmental and Infrastructure Inc. The company would prepare a report for the Department of Environmental Quality, which has asked for information on recent testing at the Township Dump.
Dysinger reported that “the Township Board implemented a plan in 2007. In 2008, 2009 and 2012 testing was conducted which proved non-detects of PCB’s, PNA’s, VOC’s and metals.”
The testing program was begun using BCI which was acquired by AMEC Environmental Services. The local office for AMEC is in Novi, MI.
He continued, “On February 14 the Township received a further inquiry letter from the DEQ. Prior to this letter however, the Township had already set parameters for residential water well testing this spring or summer on 8 wells adjacent to the “dump” property. Residential well testing was last conducted in 2000 with no issues reported. Part 201 rules require the Township observe a responsible level of monitoring and this is part of our planning. Since the DEQ has not received any of our test results since 2000-2001, the Township will meet with the DEQ and our Environmental representatives to provide updated testing results. Since 2000 the Township has spent approximately $60K to date, for monitoring wells, and testing.”
The Township is required to maintain such records to provide proof of “due diligence” responsibility and when requested share the information with the DEQ.
He said the old “dump” was closed Dec. 31st, 1989 and is located within the SE 160 acres of Section 18, at the corner of Surrey Rd. and Harrison Ave.
Other business Tuesday evening included:
*A report from Clare County Sheriff John Wilson about security at the courthouse and plans to add defibulators in each patrol car. “We are looking at grant funding,” he said.
He said they are working on ways to increase revenue from the jail and introduced Dwayne Miedzianowski, who is the new Undersheriff.