Sunday, October 27, 2013

No sale on the Genoa Township Road Millage

There's plenty of coverage on the millage in today's Argus over the Genoa Twp Millage. You can find in depth comments on this at the Protect Genoa Township Neighborhoods blog. Here I'll comment on Mike Archinal's guest column. Needless to say, I disagree with it. On this blog, I'll speak for myself and not the group, so I'll be a little more blunt here.

On Nov. 5, Genoa Township residents will have a choice to make about the condition of roads in their community. They can vote yes on the Genoa Township road proposal to fund a 15-year, 1.5-mill increase to fund projects throughout the township or they can vote no. It’s that simple.
Anyone who drives in Livingston County — or in Michigan, for that matter — knows the condition of our roads is poor. That’s a hard fact to argue. Livingston County residents have been negatively impacted by a system that is tied to lane miles and vehicle-registration fees, making our county roads the lowest-funded in the state on a per-capita basis.
Without additional revenue, much-needed improvements will not occur. We, as Genoa Township residents, can fix our roads. We have control over what happens here.
That is why our Board of Trustees has decided to give residents a chance Nov. 5 to vote on a proposal to improve roads in our township.
The Genoa Township road proposal goes to voters Nov. 5. They will decide the fate of a 15-year, 1.5-mill increase to fund a number of road improvements throughout the township.
If the proposal is approved, a home with a market value of $200,000 and a state-equalized value (SEV) of $100,000 would pay $150 per year. The first bill would appear on the 2013 winter tax.
The proposed road projects affect all areas of the township and would be completed over the next three years beginning in 2014:

It's a $3000 tax for a $200,000 home as this is a 15 year millage. For many homes in the township, it would be closer to $6000 and in some cases like Pine Creek, $10000. Most I know would consider a millage, if it actually fixed the roads. As the PGTN postcard says - "Does not fix Brighton Rd, Grand River, and Chilson." It also doesn't fix other main roads like Hacker, most of Challis (the heavily traveled part), Coon Lake, Dorr, or the paved portion of Bauer.  Those are the main roads people expect to be fixed. If the millage passes, improvements on those roads will not occcur. This is wasting $22 million dollars if I trust the township's numbers regarding costs (I don't). In addition, how much will it cost to maintain these paved roads, as the paved roads right now aren't well maintained to begin with. This created more costs, with limited benefits (and in some cases detriments).

Some board members mention that Brighton Rd among others will receive federal funds for improvements. If so, why have the millage in the first place?

Archinal then describes the projects.


• Crooked Lake Road would be paved from Chilson Road to the end of the pavement near Spring Hill Road. The paved roadway west of Lakewood Shores Drive will be crushed and shaped to provide a uniform, consistent cross-section.
• Latson Road from Aster Boulevard north past Conover Court will have a consistent three-lane cross-section with a center left-turn lane. Acceleration and deceleration lanes will be provided for all of the residential developments within the project limits. This project will also include a traffic signal at the intersection of Latson and Hampton Ridge Boulevard.

 Latson I understand, but widening and paving this? 


• The intersection of Challis and Bauer roads will be improved with the installation of a roundabout. Other road-alignment changes will include the abandonment of Bauer Road between the staggered legs of Challis and the connection to existing Challis to the west. Challis Road will be paved east toward the railroad tracks.
• Beck Road would be paved from Chilson to Nixon Road. (Nixon Road will become Latson Road after the interchange is opened).
• Conrad and Challis roads will be repaved from Dorr Road to Clifford. This project involves significant grade and right-of-way issues.

Beck Rd. Interestingly, Laurex Real Estate just had a development sale for duplexes off Beck Rd. What's Laurex? It's a company run by two of Genoa Township's board members including the supervisor.  Gary McCririe and Todd Smith.

Why Conrad? Is that so Gary McCririe can have a shortcut to Dorr Rd and not have his car dirty? That's not a repave, but widening and paving. Challis is dirt from Dorr to Conrad. That's not the part of Challis traveled heavily. As far as the roundabout goes, people love them or hate them. I think they are a waste of money.



• Herbst Road will be improved along its entire length. On the western end, from Dorr Road to Acre Hill Street, the existing roadway will be crushed, shaped and repaved. On the eastern end, Acre Hill to Grand River Avenue, the gravel portion of the Herbst will be paved.
• Cunningham Lake and Bauer roads will be paved. Cunningham Lake will be improved from Sundance Trail to Bauer Road then north on Bauer Road from Cunningham Lake to the end of the pavement south of River Ridge. The existing paved portion of Bauer, from River Ridge to Brighton Road, will be crushed, shaped and repaved. Finally, the gravel portion of Bauer will be paved to the Township limit.
• Hughes Road will be repaved. The southern section from Grand River to Cherokee Bend will be milled and overlaid. The area north of Cherokee Bend to Golf Club Drive will be crushed shaped and paved.

For reference.

Hughes I support.  Herbst doesn't need to be widened and paved. Cunningham Lake residents made the opinions well known. Bauer doesn't need to be paved to the township line. There's only two homes on the Hamburg side. Do you think Hamburg's going to pave in the Brighton Recreational area along Ore Creek? I doubt it. 

 He closes to say:

If you have questions regarding the road projects, please attend our third Road Information Open House from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday at Township Hall, 2911 Dorr Road, Brighton.
I have given you the facts surrounding the Nov. 5 Genoa Township Road Proposal. It is now up to you — the residents — to decide. If you agree, vote yes. If you do not agree, vote no.
Whatever is decided, we will continue working to make Genoa Township the best place it can be for our residents.

I encourage all residents to attend the meeting. Protect Genoa Township Neighborhoods didn't need to spin anything. If our residents know the facts, the results will be in our favor.  That said, this is an all or nothing proposal. That was made clear by the manager.  I'd support Hughes and Latson (near Grand River), but the other projects make this unworthy of support from a fiscal responsibility standpoint, as well as one from a protecting our rural character standpoint.

That's why we all encourage a no vote, so the township can come back with something reasonable.


Jordan Genso said...

Nice coverage of this issue. You provide very useful information and make a compelling argument.

One minor criticism- the first sentence of your second paragraph says it is a $3,000 tax, but $150/year for 15 years is $2,250.

Rita Croft said...

You do a great job of covering all the areas. I like your observation and comment regarding the Beck Rd portion of the proposed road project. I feel that this continues to point to a conflict of interest with several of the board members involved. This was an issue that was brought up during the campaign for Township Trustee last year. It should be looked at closer.