Road repair funding problems looming in township

FLINT TWP.— Most everyone agrees that many township roads need repair but township board members almost unanimously agree that taking money from the general fund to fix them is not a good idea.

As a result, two road-repair proposals failed last week. One rejected proposal was a joint funding project on West Maple Road and the other was a previously rejected request for repairs on Graham Road.

Supervisor Karyn Miller noted that the township’s remaining road millage funds are already committed to other projects. The ten-year millage fund expires at the end of the year and was not approved for renewal by voters in the May 5 election.

Mundy Township Supervisor David L. Guigear requested that the township share costs for pavement repairs and chip seal on W. Maple Road between Soya Avenue and Linden Road. The estimated cost of the project is about $49,417 with the road commission picking up half the cost using 50/50 matching funds and the two townships each responsible for about $12,354 for the project.

The board voted 5-2 not to approve the proposal, with Miller and Trustee Frank Kasle supporting it.

Barb Vert noted that work was last done on that section of road in 2009 or 2010 and is not holding up. She also said she has noticed that another road she travels daily was repaired less than a year ago and is already shredding.

“I am not sure what we are paying for,” Vert said.”They are not lasting. I don’t support this coming out of the general fund. I think once we start doing that we just keep digging and digging.”

Trustee Belenda Parker agreed.

“I feel we don’t need to start tapping into our cash reserves,’” she said. “We will be right back in the situation before (budget shortage). We should be careful about items paid out of general funds that are not budgeted for.”

Miller said that the general fund, same as the road millage fund, are all taxpayers money. Road repairs are a good way to spend it, she said.

“We have poor roads and no one else is going to pay to fix them.” Graham Road is one of them. A milling and paving project presented to the board last month targeted sections south and north of Corunna Road at an estimated cost of $168,001. The township would have to foot the entire bill out of its general fund. A motion for approval died for lack of a second.

But because there is no more money in the road millage fund, the township’s Road Advisory Committee urged Miller to bring the Graham Road proposal back to the board this month for reconsideration. Her motion again failed to muster support.

Kasle said the board should devote its energy to getting the township’s road millage renewal on the November ballot.

“We need this to keep our roads in good shape,” he said, noting that he opposed placing it on the May ballot with the controversial state roads proposal that voters soundly rejected.

Township Clerk Marsha Binelli also suggested that the board get to work on getting the township’s ten-year road millage renewed in the November election.

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