Township seeks road funding through special assessment
The current road-funding situation playing out in Raisin Township has been a contentious item amongst members of the board, but a resolution to those problems was given the green light on Monday, July 14, at the board of trustees meeting. The board unanimously approved the road committee’s recommendation to move forward with creating a special assessment district and a dedicated line item for future road improvements in the 2015 budget.“This is the best plan I’ve seen so far,” said trustee Tom Hawkins. Based on 3,501 parcels at the road committee’s recommended $120 a year assessment, the township could raise up to $420,000 a year for road repair, maintenance and improvements. “No one wants to pay more taxes,” said trustee Larry Crittenden. “I think we have to help ourselves. Our roads are totally collapsing. We’re going to have to do something or drive on dirt roads again. A number of communities are doing the same fundraising we are.”“We have to be very very careful with the special assessment. If you do not benefit from that road, you have an argument you can bring forward at either the hearing or tribunal or such to object to the special assessment,” said Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh. Taking the committee’s recommendation of creating a dedicate line item in the 2015 budget of $100,000 for roads, along with adding $25,000 every year until 2019, could give the township $2.8 million over the next five years to fix some of the $9.8 million worth of repairs roads currently need in the township.Road committee member Jeremiah Johnson explained that a special assessment is a good idea, especially if the state or county increases taxes. “A special assessment can get pulled by the board sooner, regardless of term. If we get dinged from every other direction, a special assessment can get pulled early to ease our suffering,” Johnson said.Under the committee’s recommendation, the majority of the money earned through the special assessment would be used for connector roads within the township, with the money set aside in the budget used for subdivisions. Residents who want to accelerate the repairs done in a subdivision can petition the board for a special assessment district restricted to that specific subdivision and have owners from within that subdivision pay for those repairs.“The majority of Raisin Township residents live in subdivisions,” said Road Committee Chair Steven McGee.The road committee is now tasked with coming up with the necessary documentation to move forward with the special assessment. Once they are ready, the board will call for a special meeting to pass a resolution to set the first public hearing on the special assessment.At least 10 days before the public hearing, a notice must be mailed to every parcel owner in the township informing them about the public hearing, and that they must attend in person or by proxy. In order to retain their right to appeal the special assessment at a tax tribunal, a property owner must submit that objection in writing to the board. In order to stop the assessment, 20 percent of all parcel owners in the township must have submitted a written objection before, or on the day of, the first public hearing. If more than one person, like husband and wife, owns a piece of property, both parties must sign the objection.Also, an announcement about the special assessment must be made in a local newspaper at least 10 days before the first public hearing. At the first public hearing, the township will record who preserved their right to appeal the special assessment, and pass the resolution creating it if there is less than 20 percent of parcel owners objecting in writing. For the second public hearing, a mailing and announcement must be made 10 days before it. Here, the township approves the assessment pool that would be used for the special assessment.