Grant Township board members voted unanimously Tuesday evening to place a road millage on the November ballot.
After a lengthy discussion on the deteriorating condition of the roads, the board voted to ask township residents to approve three mills for ten years and have the ballot wording composed for approval before the deadline at the end of July.
The nine years of road repair outlined in a study last year would cost $413,774 per year. The millage would raise about $286,000 of those funds. Since the Clare County Road Commission has no funds to contribute to the needed road repairs, the township is discussing an assessment of property owners to fund the rest of the costs, if the millage is approved by voters.
“We have to start something now,” said Supervisor Dan Dysinger. He said without the millage many of the paved roads in the township will deteriorate until the only option is to change them back to gravel. He added that he gets calls almost daily on the bad road conditions.
County Road Commissioner Dick Haynak painted a dismal picture of any funding from them for the repair of county roads. “In 1997 we saw a four cent increase in the gasoline tax which added $500,000 to our budget for roads. We had money to pay 25 percent on local road projects and 50 percent on major roads then. We don’t have that now. Since that time, funding has been declining and costs have gone up. We have lost the $500,000 and more. Our fleet of 34 trucks is now down to 17. We barely have enough to maintain the roads now.”
He said several proposals in the legislature could increase their State funding, but “We probably won’t see any of that money until 2016.” Without State funds, the improvement of roads is falling to the townships, he said.
Grant Township does have just over $200,000 set aside for road repairs this year. At the Tuesday meeting they approved a $153,227.54 bid from Central Asphalt Inc. for HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) repairs for 2.2 miles of Maple Road from Harrison Avenue East to the Clare City Limits.
Chip seal repairs to some of the roads repaired last year are also scheduled as well as a re-gravel project on Cornwell.
The Township will have two millage proposals on the November ballot. Also slated for renewal this year is the 1.1 mill measure for fire protection. The board also voted to place that on the ballot at Tuesday’s meeting.
In another matter, property owners along Kapplinger Road were at the meeting to hear about the proposed extension of natural gas to those residents and in the Creekside Subdivision. The proposed extension would be from Maple Grove Road north to Harrison Avenue.
DTE Energy Marketing Specialist Suresh Bhargava was at the meeting to explain the project. He outlined the savings for residents who make the switch from propane and said the company has contracted with Roese Contracting Company of Kawkawlin to begin laying pipe between June 1 and June 15. “We have committed to this project,” he said.
He estimated the pipe would be installed by August 15 and the residences hooked up by October or sooner, and outlined the cost to convert to the less expensive natural gas supply, which is 98 percent domestic. He said they already have over half of the needed 57 homeowners committed to the change.
Vern Hartman of Roese was also on hand to answer questions from the audience.
Other business at the meeting included:
*Approval of the purchase of an Assessing Program software upgrade from BSA for a cost of $3,555.
*Adoption of a resolution to decline/refuse the purchase of Public Act 123 foreclosed properties.
*Approval of the renewal of an Equalization contract for $2.410 per year, plus expenses for mailing, etc.
*Approval of monthly bills totaling $12,527.41.