Raisin Township identifies roads for projects
In spite of bad weather that had been hitting the area, Raisin Township officials attended a meeting at the Lenawee County Road Commission on Monday, Jan. 20 to learn what projects might be completed in the township this year.
Raisin Township has been discussing funding options for more than a year and did not spend the $50,000 it had set aside last year, so this year township trustees added $150,000 to the amount for a total of approximately $200,000 toward road projects.
With an estimated cost of $600,000 per mile to totally rebuild a road, $200,000 is not a lot of money, but Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh said the Road Commission officials had some recommendations for projects for 2014.
“When you look at the Paser map [which provides road condition ratings], the strategy is to make the most efficient use of the money by maintaining what you have now to keep them from further deterioration,” said Cavanaugh. “The Road Commission made it very clear that it is their job to make the roads safe, even if that means some may have to be converted to gravel at some point.”
The 2014 proposal includes the following: sealcoat/crack fill two miles of Ives Rd. from Occidental Hwy. to M-52; crack fill Gady Rd. from Occidental Hwy. to M-52, 1.44 miles; Sutton Road from Occidental Hwy. to M-52 for 1.41 miles; Black Hwy. from Sutton Rd. to Valley Rd. for .52 miles; and S. Raisin Center Hwy. from Labardee to Academy Rd., 1.04 miles.
Additional recommendations included asphalt wedge work on Wilmoth Hwy. from Sutton Rd. to Valley Rd. where shoulders would be removed, 2,700-feet by 20-feet for a full-length wedge of .51 miles; and also on Pocklington Rd. from Rogers Hwy. to Billmeyer Hwy., a 2,500-feet by 20-feet asphalt wedge.
Work on gravel roads would include 500 tons of gravel spot patchwork, and five days worth of hot patching or six days of durapatching.
Cavanaugh said Road Commission officials, including Managing Director Scott Merillat, Operations Manager Jason Schnaidt, and Northeast District Foreman Doug Harsh shared a number of statistics regarding past years of project work in the township.
“These are three guys who really want to do right by the township and the county, and they are very transparent on how we fare with other townships,” said Cavanaugh, who noted that it would cost approximately $8.3 million for all roads in the township to be taken care of in the manner that they should be. He added that statistics also showed that Raisin Township has the second highest population and is second in miles of roads in the township, but spent the least on roads over a 10-year average.
Added to the difficulties is this year’s hard winter, which has not only cost more in snowplowing for local roads, but will leave many in worse shape than they were before. The situation in Raisin Township is not exclusive to them as many communities in the area, including Tecumseh, are dealing with more potholes than ever and buckling streets due to this year’s protracted winter.
Figures from 2012, which included a mild winter, showed that $25,555 was budgeted for Raisin Township’s 25 miles of roads. Only $11,947, less than half, was spent. For 2013, as of January, of the $24,400 budgeted, more than $22,775 had already been spent due to harsher conditions.
Cavanaugh said the Raisin Township Board continues to work on the possibility of asking the voters for a dedicated road millage as one means to tackle the needed projects. He believes that when local residents make a decision to fund local road improvements, it’s a more efficient way for their tax dollars to be used, and said the amount per taxpayer per year would likely be less than a family pays for television cable service. Also, when roads continue to deteriorate, individuals often have to pay more for car repairs.
In subdivisions, where there is sometimes the issue of only people in the development benefiting from millage money, one idea is to create assessment districts and provide matching funds from a dedicated road millage, which has worked in other communities, where residents would share in the costs. Dedicated road millages are also in effect in other communities across the state to help take care of aging and deteriorating roads.
Cavanaugh said the board agreed to form a dedicated road millage committee, but that group has not yet been appointed. August could be the target date for a vote.
“The board has to make the decision yet as to whether to put it on the ballot or not,” said Cavanaugh. “If we do, the wording would need to be submitted by April or May. We are also in talks with OHM, our engineering company, and would work with the Miller Canfield law firm who would help us seek financing.” He added that part of the campaign would be to educate the public on the needs and the process and how it would work.
“In the end, it’s a decision they have to make,” said Cavanaugh. “From there, we would at the very least know what the residents of this township want to do. Because it ultimately should be up to them.”