Raisin Township considers 2014 road projects
Raisin Township officials held a special workshop meeting on Friday, April 18, and approved moving forward with a series of road repairs for 2014 that had been proposed by the Lenawee County Road Commission. The condition of Raisin Township roads has been an area of discussion in the township for several years as budgets have become tighter and grants and revenue sharing monies have shrunk or disappeared.
The township will use up to $200,000 in funds that the board set aside in the 2014 budget. Selected projects total approximately $190,000, and Trustee Larry Crittenden, who made the motion, also said a couple of other roads in deteriorating condition might be looked at.
Following the regular Monday, April 14, Raisin Township Board of Trustees meeting, the board scheduled the workshop to determine a direction for the 2014 funds and to revisit next steps toward approaching voters with a road millage campaign that could result in a bond issue to help pay for future road projects. The fact the roads need to be fixed is one of the areas all board members agree on. The board was looking at a road survey conducted with Doug Harsh, Lenawee County Road Commission chairman of the northeast district. The list included the following projects:
• Pocklington, .47 mile between Rogers and Billmeyer, asphalt wedge and shoulders, $42,543
• Wilmoth, .5 mile between Sutton and E. Valley, asphalt wedge and shoulder, $59,000
• Local roads hot patch work for five days, $24,600
• Gady Road between Occidental and M-52, Sutton Rd., from Occidental to M-52, and Black Hwy. between Sutton and E. Valley, crack fill, $11,900
• Raisin Center Hwy. between Labardee and Academy, crack fill, $22,600
• Ives Rd. between Occidental and M-52, crack fill and sealcoat, $47,700
“The idea is to maintain the roads that we have now,” said Cavanaugh. “It would be money well spent to keep roads in good shape, extending them past their lifespan.”
Given that it costs an estimated $600,000 per mile to rebuild a road, the budgeted $200,000 would not go very far, but township officials plan to assess which projects would best extend the life of some of the roads while they work on a long-range plan for repair and maintenance.
The board worked in a conciliatory manner at the April 8 meeting, and also agreed that Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh would make phone calls to reconvene a workshop meeting to include representatives from Miller/Canfield, consultant OHM, and the Lenawee County Road Commission in order to take further steps toward taking a dedicated millage campaign for roads to the residents.
Township resident Tom Mitchell and his wife, Kim, want to see the roads improved, however they told the board it wouldn’t be easy.
“Yes the roads need to be fixed. Yes taxes would be raised. But you have a hard sell because of the trust issue — do we trust you’re going to spend the money wisely?” said Tom Mitchell. “A lot of the residents I speak to would answer ‘no,’” he added. The couple noted that the board may have to prove to the residents that the job could be done in a way that’s not “outrageous” in taxes.
Board members acknowledged that there would be an educational component to the campaign, and that by bringing back the experts who guide municipalities through such campaigns, the job would be done right. Also, dedicated millage for roads has to be spent on roads.
Trustee Debra Brousseau said she felt the workshop meeting was very productive.
“I think there’s been excellent conversation and this is one of the best meetings we have had in a long time,” she said.
Cavanaugh, too, was pleased to be moving ahead and said he had sat down with several board members and made a commitment to work together.
“No matter what our differences are, if we’re not working together, we’re not serving the public,” he said. “I just want to put out there that residents have been experiencing some tension and they need to know that the board is working together to move things along. I’m not saying the problems can be fixed overnight, but we’re moving in the right direction and I hope it continues that way.”