Grant Township looking at road projects next year

Following a lengthy report from Designer Steven M. Clark of Rowe Professional Services Company, Grant Township’s board discussed the township’s roads and what could be done to improve them.

The board had originally decided to do some road work this year, but decided to have Rowe conduct the study of the roads before they decide what should be done. “We decided it would be better to put together a plan to spend the money wisely,” Supervisor Dan Dysinger said.

Clark outlined a list totaling $4.3 million in costs over ten years. He said Rowe rated the roads from a one (worst) to ten (best) and said they recommended doing maintenance projects first then the roads that are in the worst condition. “At a minimum we recommend doing the twos and threes,” he said.

Dysinger said, “It is too late for us to do a (road) project this year. We have 330,000 to work with. We have time now, and won’t be doing into anything until spring of 2013.”

Clark said bidding in the early spring would get the best prices.

The Rowe report recommended doing maintenance and repair of gravel roads on “a case by case” basis and listed the paved roads and the year-by-year recommended projects.

Dysinger said, “If we are very conservative with the budget we still would only be able to fund only about 25 percent of what is needed.” He continued, “We would need four mills (of taxes) to raise enough money to do all of this.” The voters would never go for that.”

Dysinger said, “You can talk about other things (we have), good schools, good public buildings, but if you don’t have good roads, you don’t have anything.”

Dysinger added, “We probably have enough funds to do the first two years of projects then our funds will be gone.”

Clark told the board about federal and state grant funds that might help. He said, “If a road is classified as a ‘collector,’ it could be eligible for 80 percent state and federal funding. There are four or five (township) roads that could be eligible [for grant funds],” Clark said.

Dysinger said he has received “a lot of complaints about township roads, especially on the condition of Grant Road.” He said Grant (east of North Clare Avenue) was used as a detour during the Old U.S. 27 road project.

In another matter Tuesday evening, Grant’s board voted unanimously to ask the County to open all county roads in the township to ATV or ORV use. Presently Surrey Road is closed for ORV traffic from the Surrey Township line east to Cornwell Road. They asked Surrey Township Zoning Administrator Rod Williams, who was at the meeting, to inform the Clare County Board of Commissioners of their decision. Williams was taking a letter to the county from Surrey’s board asking that all of their township roads be opened for ORVs.

Clare County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Roland gave the board the Sheriff’s opinion that the roads should be open to ORVs. “I’m for it and Sheriff Wilson is for it. The only thing not allowed is an ATV [on those roads],” he said.

The two townships have the only roads that have been closed to ORV traffic; Surrey and Maple Grove Roads. Residents of both townships have said they would like the roads to be accessible for ORV traffic.

The Surrey Township letter said Supervisor Russ Hamilton had contacted both the Sheriff’s Department and the Clare County Road Commission and “there was no opposition to opening these sections to ORV traffic from either party.”

In other business Tuesday evening:

*The board approved a low bid of $1,682 from I-Deal Sealcoating for parking lot repair and approved a low bid of $1,937 from Design Builders of Clare for replacement of hall doors on the east side of the building.

*After a 7 p.m. Public Hearing on the matter, the board approved a $5 increase in the annual special assessment for rubbish pickup increasing the charge from $95 to $100 per year.

* Circuit Judge Candidate Ghazey Aleck introduced himself and gave a brief overview on the position and why he would like to see voters make a new choice at the November election.

*The board discussed options to change the status of Marie Street at Otter Lake from a private road to one maintained by the county. Township resident Rosemary Carson said there were five residences on the privately owned end of the road. Dysinger recommended talking to the Road Commission on the matter.

Monthly bills totaling $27,977.91 was also approved at the meeting.