Meridian Township Board paving the way for a $2 million road millage in 2020

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The Meridian Township Board continued to discuss the Transportation Commission’s recommendations—first brought up last month—to put a $2 million road millage up for a vote next year.

Township Board Trustee Dan Opsommer said it’s time the township take action on the roads since the state or county hasn’t acted in several decades.

“This rises to the second, well now, the most prominent issue in the township, outside of redevelopment of commercial areas, where we have less control over those outcomes,” he said. “Where here, we have control, and we’ve waited long enough.”

The Transportation Commission released four recommendations for the Township Board to consider when making its decision on the road millage that include

  1. Providing comprehensive communication to township residents and businesses,
  2. Supporting the level of funding recommended by township staff and Ingham County Road officials,
  3. additional taxes that may be necessary that will be clearly explained to residents and businesses as well as
  4. a publicized plan and map showing where and when various roads in the township will be improved.

A millage to increase road funding to $1 million failed several years ago. Township Treasurer Phil Deschaine said the key to gaining support from residents for the $2 million increase is publishing a map that clearly shows an estimated time of what roads will be done when.

“I think the most important thing in the description is that our goal is to get all of the streets in Meridian Township in 10 years at a PASER level of 8,” said Township Trustee Patricia Jackson.

A report released by Mark Kieselbach, director of community Planning and development, showed the results of the 2017 Pavement Surface and Evaluation Rating analysis to determine the funding requirements needed to improve the 147-mile local road network in Meridian Township.

The asphalt roads in the township were rated on the 10 to 1 scale with 10 being a new road and 1 being a failing road.

The results from the PASER analysis showed that 6 percent of the township roads were in Very Good condition, 63 percent Good/Fair and 31 percent Poor.

Along with these results, the report showed that an additional funding of $2.15 million per year would be needed to increase the Good rated roads to 75 percent and $3.5 million per year would be needed to get the roads at the Very Good rating (PASER level 8).

Both of these additional funding suggestions would allow the roads to be improved over a maximum of a 10-year period.

Jackson went on to say that the strategy also needs to show that once the roads are fixed, there is a plan to keep them that way and not let them get as bad as they are now.

The Board agreed that the worst roads are the cul-de-sacs in most of the neighborhoods and that those will be one of the top priorities to be fixed in the 10-year span. Soil beds under the asphalt roads will also be inspected to determine whether or not they’re all strong enough to support the roads.

“Laying it all out this summer is going to be critical,” said Township Manager Frank Walsh.

The Board hopes to have a millage proposed by this August to have construction companies start bidding to begin construction the following year.

The Road Millage Recommendation is expected to be brought back as a discussion item at the Township Board meeting the second week in April.

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