Board spending general funds to pave residential street

FLINT TWP. — Once again this year, the township board has decided to dip into its general fund to pay for road repairs.

The board voted 5-2 last week to add a milling and paving project on Woodkrest Drive to this year’s road repairs at an estimated cost of $50,941.48, to be paid entirely with township funds.

The board has already allocated spending all of this year’s estimated $392,845 in road millage funds on other projects.

Trustees Barb Vert and Belenda Parker voted no. Vert said she cannot support taking money from the township’s general fund. She also said that many other roads in the township are in dire need of repairs and have been asking for help.

“I know everyone things their road is the worse,” she said.

Parker did not comment.

The board action responds to requests from Woodkrest residents who presented their case to both the township’s Road Advisory Committee and the township board. The road advisory committee makes annual recommendations to the township board on which roads to repair each year. Gerald Hall, a Woodkrest resident, said paving work was done about two years ago on nearby MapleKrest Road but stopped after covering a short distance on Woodkrest.

“I naturally expected them to finish our street,’’ he said. He said he thought it was a misprint when he read in April that repair work was scheduled this year on nearby Sugarbush Lane and Dyekrest Circle.

Woodkrest is more heavily traveled because it must be used to access Sugarbush which loops around it. It also is a connector route to Western Hills.

Hall likened conditions on Woodkrest to “a swimming pool” when it rains. The road is dangerous because cars weave back and forth trying to miss the potholes, he said. Several other Woodkrest residents also spoke, citing six-foot wide potholes and concern for the safety of playing children, pedestrians and bikers.

John Whiteside, a ten-year member of the road advisory committee, also spoke on the residents behalf.

He said it would be more cost efficient to pave Woodkrest at the same time as work is being done on nearby streets.

The projects on Dye Krest and Sugar Bush are estimated at $49,531 and $57,545, respectively, with the funds coming from the road millage.

Other projects approved for this year include paving and milling Graham Road from Beecher Road to Beveridge; paving and milling on Calkins Road from Linden to Dye; paving and milling on Sugarbush Lane and paving and milling on Dye Crest Circle from Beecher Road to Court Street. The road commission also will complete the third phase of a three-year repair project on Calkins Road, estimated at $63,845.

In March, the board voted 5-2 to use money from the general fund to partly cover costs of the Graham Road project.

Prior to voters renewing the road millage in November 2015, the township board twice voted against requests to use the general fund for road projects. The township faced a serious financial shortfall prior to voters approving a Public Safety Millage in November 2014.

It is not unprecedented to use general funds to pay for road projects. The township started the year with a budget surplus of about $4 million.

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