By Kit Kuhne
Grand Ledge Gazette
GRAND LEDGE — All five attending members of the Grand Ledge City Council unanimously voted on Sept. 22 in support of a millage that would help fix roads in Eaton County.
The Eaton County Local Roads and Streets Repair and Rehabilitation Millage proposal would aim to raise roughly $60 million over 12 years, from 2014 to 2026. In the first year, Grand Ledge would receive approximately $304,000 to for the roads within the city limit
This millage would call for a $1.5 mil levy on the county-assessed taxable value of all homes in Eaton County. Meaning that on a house with a taxable value of $100,000, an Eaton County resident would see a tax increase of $150 per year.
“Even though that this is a significant amount of money for both the county and the city, the impact on the individual taxpayer, we hope, is at a level that is affordable for everyone,” Terrance Augustine, Eaton County Commissioner from District 3, said at the meeting. “Any increase in taxes paid by constituents is certainly felt, [but] I believe that it’s a reasonable level of investment to maintain our roads here within the city and the county as a whole.”
The goal of the Eaton County Road Commission with this millage is to resurface 262 miles of currently paved roads and reshape 500 miles of gravel roads with new processed gravel. Additionally, this would fund for all graveled surfaces in Eaton County to receive a dust control application twice per year.
Darrell Tennis, a Board of Road Commissioners member, brought up in the meeting that, while this millage directly improves roads, it will also go toward helping the property value of homes in Eaton County.
“You can control things like shrubs or a roof or a new furnace and make your house look nicer, but there’s a lot of things that add to the value of your home that are done on a county or a local level,” said Tennis during the meeting. “[This millage] would go towards upping the value of homes in Eaton county.”
Before the Council voted on supporting this millage, Mayor Kalmin Smith spoke about how with this millage, the city can continue to work towards improving local roads, and encouraged residents to vote in favor of it.
“I don’t support tax increases very much, but I’m certainly in favor of this,” said Smith. “What we’re being asked to do is encourage voters to exercise their recourse and vote for a road millage that would be a significant benefit to the city of Grand Ledge… If this millage were to be adopted, we could double next year what we’re doing for local roads this year and continue up for a decade. So, I see that as a very positive step forward for the residents of Grand Ledge.”
General voting for this millage will occur on Nov. 4, 2014.