Green Oak Voters to Decide Road Tax Issue
Voters in Green Oak Township will be going to the polls on Nov. 6 to decide the fate of a 1.66-mill levy on property taxes to improve township roads.
Green Oak Township residents will decide whether they are willing to pay the cost of improving township roads on Nov. 6.
The issue, if passed, would result in a $373.50 increase in property taxes for the owner of an average home in the township, with a market value of $225,000.
The last time a road millage was proposed to township voters was in 1996, when residents voted down the request twice - in August and November. Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says in asking voters afterward why they voted no, the reasons given were many.
"We were told it was not specific enough," St. Charles says. "It didn't say how many (roads would be improved), which (roads) and when (the projects would take place)."
Although it's now 16 years later, St. Charles says the township learned its lesson and is being very specific about which roads would be earmarked for work, along with the type of road improvement project for each road on the list.
According to St. Charles, the millage is badly needed because township roads have steadily deteriorated over the years. He says the Livingston County Road Commission - in the face of dwindling state funding from more fuel-efficient vehicles - does not have the funds for township road repairs except as joint projects.
"The problem is the gas (and weight) tax," St. Charles says. He says Public Act 51, which created the gas and weight tax, provides the road commission with less revenue now than it did years ago when vehicles used up more fuel.
Citing the recent Rushton Road repaving project, St. Charles says that says the millage, if approved, will give the township the seed money to do joint road projects with the road commission.
Rushton Road was repaved this year from Nine Mile to Doane Road, at a cost of $650,000, using $500,000 in funding from the township road fund and general fund, with the remainder coming from the road commission. However, the 2012 road fund is now depleted.
St. Charles says the township only has enough money for one project per year using its road fund, not nearly enough to address the many road needs.
Fred Hanert, who lives on Evergreen Road, says he will likely vote in favor of the millage. "Certainly there are roads in the township (that need it)," Hanert said. "Especially Fieldcrest, with the many detours on US-23 (and traffic being diverted onto Fieldcrest and Whitmore Lake roads)."
Former Brighton Board of Education member Joe Carney, who lives on Kinyon Drive at Fonda Lake, says he is undecided. "They all need to be done, but the other side of the equation is on our road, the residents paid for the whole thing," Carney says. "There's nothing about sharing (the cost with residents)...and our road needs work now."
Sue Crittenden, a past Township Planning Commission member, says she hasn't made up her mind but is leaning toward a "no" vote.
"I think our roads need work without a doubt, and no one could argue that," Crittenden said. "But financially, most people are pretty strapped right now. The bills keep going up but the pay keeps going down."
Crittenden also calls fixing local roads "the county road commission's responsibility."
However, a couple of residents at two public meetings on the issue said that the cost of repairs to their vehicles resulting from bad roads more than offsets what the annual cost in taxes would be.
St. Charles says if the millage is successful, the township will do the repaving of paved roads "in years one, two and three" and the gravel roads later on. Township officials say the full 1.66 mills will not be levied unless necessary.
Click the links below to find a detailed list of what kinds of repairs will be done to each road, including estimated cost.
List of paved roads to be re-paved:
Fieldcrest Road - South
Rickett Road - South
Whitmore Lake Road North
Whitmore Lake Road South
9 Mile Road - South
Leman Road North
Winans Lake Road