RaisinTownship appoints committee for roads
The Raisin Township Board of Trustees appointed a new Roads Committee at its Monday, May 12 meeting, to help educate the public regarding proposals that might be brought forward to address Raisin Township roads in the future. Named to the committee were Steven McGee, Jeremiah Johnson, Thomas Mitchell, and Paul Smoke.
At the center of any discussion taking place in Raisin Township is one thing everyone seems to agree on: the township’s roads are badly in need of repair. Where opinions have differed is on how to approach the task and how to pay for it.
The Lenawee County Road Commission recently estimated that it would take approximately $9.7 million to bring the township’s roads up to where they should be, an increase of $1.4 million from previous estimates of $8.3 million due to the effects of a harsh winter.
“I wish I could report better news, but I cannot,” said Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh, who was accompanied by Bill Costick, a consultant from OHM, at a recent meeting held at the Lenawee County Road Commission. Cavanaugh said he and Costick also drove roads across the entire township.
“He gave me his assessment on the road improvements we’re doing this year, and felt that we are doing the right thing with the money we have right now,” he said. In April, the board approved a series of projects totaling just under $200,000 as recommended by a Lenawee County Road Commission survey for the region.
Cavanaugh also shared a series of spreadsheets and flow charts including one that showed the township had gone from having 52 percent of “Poor” roads in 2009 to 58 percent “Poor” roads in 2011. That 58 percent was recently rated as being at 67 percent. He also pointed out that when looking at road project history for 22 Lenawee County townships, Raisin had spent the least on road projects.
The board met in a special work session last summer with OHM engineers, Road Commission representatives and others to begin to formulate a plan, whether it is to ask voters for a dedicated road millage or some other option.
Cavanaugh said he would like to be able to bring options to the June meeting and pointed out there would be a summer deadline if the board wanted to put an issue on the November ballot.
After discussion Monday night, the board agreed to continue what was started last year. Trustee Debra Brousseau said the board would continue to address the issue.
“It affects all of us who live here,” she said. “We’re not really dragging our feet. For whatever reasons the meetings stopped this winter, it’s time to get this together. I feel we should be able to get a plan to address for residents so they will know what roads will be worked on and when. I apologize for whatever reason this got on a slower pace during the winter months. Hopefully now we can get back on track and I think it’s important to show if we go for a millage, how it will affect everyone and where their roads fit in the plan.”
She added that road maintenance issues will never go completely away. “But we have to have a plan not only to fix them, but to maintain them, too,” Brousseau added.