The Washtenaw County Road Commission presented their 2019 Local Road Program for Saline Township at the township’s April meeting on Monday night.
Sheryl Soderholm Siddall, Managing Director of the road commission, provided the township board and members of the community with introductory remarks. She talked about the “five buckets” of road funding.
Siddall said the funding of road construction, maintenance and rehab is complex and that historically Michigan has never budgeted enough funds to meet the statewide needs for roads.
“There are five buckets that road funds are drawn from, and unfortunately the funds available for roads in rural communities has been inadequate for years,” Siddal said.
The five buckets of road funding include:
- Connect states funding, administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Source of funds: Federal Highway Trust Fund & Michigan Transportation Fund.
- Connect counties funding, administered by MDOT. Source of funds: MTF.
- Connect local funding, administered by WCRC. Source of funds: MTF – state portion, supplemental funds from federal & state grants and Washtenaw County-wide millage.
- Connect homes & businesses to cities and villages, administered by WCRC & township government. Source of funds: WCRC annual local road matching program, township-wide special assessment district.
- Subdivision roads, Administered by WCRC & township government. Source of funds: WCRC annual local road matching program & township funds, supplemental funds neighborhood special assessment district.
James D. Harmon, Director of Operations of the road commission, provided a budget overview. He stated the commission has allocated a total of $1,100,000 for the conventional Local Road Matching Program, which is consistent with the 2018 allocation.
“This consists of a countywide allocation of $930,769 for matching programs on local roads in all twenty townships based upon the formula used by the MDOT to allocate local road funds to the 83 counties of Michigan,” Harmon said. “The WCRC has allocated $200,000 for the 2019 Drainage Matching Program for local uncurbed, non-subdivision roads.”
The WCRC has budgeted $536,984.93 for preservation/structural improvements for Saline Township for 2019. The township’s local match contribution to these funds is $133,371.33. The township board approved entering into a contract with the WCRC for dirt road dust control with three solid applications at a cost of $31,231.92. The township’s 2019 budget also includes $125,000 for the local road match requirement for the limestone project.
Harmon summarized the proposed 2019 Local Road Projects:
- Feldkamp Road, from Klager Road to Austin Road ($80,400)
- Maple Road, from Mooreville Road to Willow Road ($40,600)
- Arkona Road, from Abel Road westerly to township line ($16,300)
- Hack Road, from Abel Road westerly to the township line ($16,300)
- Schill Road, 1,600 feet north of US-12 to 3,500 feet north of US-12 ($37,500)
- Maple Road, from Willow Road to Mooreville Road ($37,500)
Several residents of the Oak Park neighborhood in Saline Township, raised complaints about the condition of their road. Jane Bersuder, a resident of Oak Park Blvd., expressed concerns about the road.
“The potholes are just getting deeper and deeper, making the road unsafe to drive on. With all of the children in the neighborhood, it is not safe,” Bersuder said.
The condition of the road and the related safety concerns were shared by several other homeowners.
In response to the community members’ concerns, Harmon said that Oak Park has multiple issues. Phase 1 and Phase 2 are considered public roads, while Phase 3 does not meet the standards to be considered a public road and consequently the WCRC cannot perform any routine road maintenance, such as snow plowing, pothole repairs, etc.
Harmon explained that the developer of Oak Park Estates did not follow through on commitments to finish the required work on the roads, abandoning the project, leaving the homeowners stuck.
Harmon said, “since Oak Park Drive does not connect to any other roads and are used exclusively by the residents or people traveling to visit a resident, homeowners bear the financial responsibility for rehabbing the road, including a thorough inspection of the culverts on the road.”
Saline Township Supervisor Jim Marion offered the township hall for residents of Oak Park to meet with staff from the WCRC, Washtenaw County and township officials to better understand what options are available, including establishing a neighborhood special assessment district to fund repairs to Oak Park. Township consulting attorney, Fred Lucas, said if the Oak Park residents would like, he would attend to help explain the provisions of establishing a special assessment district.
The Oak Park Drive residents were taken aback when Harmon said “it costs between $350,000 to $500,000 for rehabbing a mile of road, not including any work needed on culverts.”
The total costs of any project for a neighborhood road is the responsibility of its residents. Typically, those costs are amortized over a ten-year period.
In other business, township clerk Kelly Marion read a proclamation recognizing the years of service of Trustee Robert L. Prehn, who has resigned due to health concerns. Supervisor Jim Marion appointed Tom Hammond to fill the remainder of Prehn’s term and will serve as the board representative to the township planning commission.
Marion said that the township’s spring clean-up date is scheduled for Saturday, May 18th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Marion also said he received a notice that former township supervisor Robert Cook’s memorial service will take place on Saturday, April 27th at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Saline, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.