In May, the third year of the 10-year local road bond program approved by Meridian Township voters in 2019 will start, said Dan Opsommer, the assistant township manager and director of public works and engineering.
“We really need to take advantage of every decent month that we have,” said Opsommer. “We’ve canceled projects in the past in the fall because it’s not good to put down asphalt when the temperature drops and so we want to make sure the work that we’re doing is lasting and impactful.”
The goal of the 10-year-project is to obtain a Pavement Surface Elevation and Rating score of 8 out of 10, which would be an improvement from the score of 4.48 when voters approved the millage a few years ago.
“Today, after two years of the program we are at a 5.68, and we also have a forecast scheduled, so we’re looking at each year in the 10-year-program,” said Opsommer. “What do we want our average PASER rating to be and right now we’re eclipsing those goals by about 5.5 PASER rating.
MT already issued the first bond three years ago and will secure bonds at the end of this year for the second set, said Miriam Mattison, the finance director of MT. As they collect that, it pays off that bond debt, so they will collect the millage from the residents and then it will pay down the bond.
In 2019, voters in Meridian Township approved a millage that allows the township to secure bonds to improve and construct roads, which was the first its kind, said Deborah Guthrie, the township board clerk.
“It’s my first time seeing this for local roads, for a local community having a millage to improve the road system,” she said.
The lack of funding from other sources including the county appears to be what pushed voters to institute such a millage, said Guthrie
“They (the voters) said you know what, we want to pay for it,” she said. “We want to have our roads rehabilitated and resurfaced, and we don’t want our roads in poor condition anymore, and so it’s important that we follow through with what the voters approved.”