Township residents concerned about poor road conditionsPublished 8:45am Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The harsh winter took a toll on roads in Niles Township and Berrien County.
Several residents living in the Brandywine Acres subdivision, specifically those using South Street on a regular basis, came to Monday’s township meeting to voice concerns about the condition of the roads and ask what could be done to fix them.
Jess Minks, a member of the Berrien County Road Commission, was at the meeting. He said the issue essentially boils down to one thing: a lack of funds.
No major improvements to the county’s roads will occur, he said, until the legislature passes a bill to fix roads in the state.
“They have to get together and figure it out,” said Minks, adding that road fixes are currently funded by the state’s gas tax.
Minks said there are other ways to fund road repairs. One would be for voters to approve a county road millage, which could be placed on the November ballot by the Berrien County Commissioners.
Townships also have the ability to place a road millage on the ballot for voters.
Township Supervisor Jim Stover said residents should not expect to see any type of township road millage this election season, adding that township officials are waiting to see what comes of the county road commission’s five-year plan for road maintenance and improvements.
“We won’t want to do anything until we see the big picture,” he said.
Brandywine Acres refers to a subdivision just north of US-12 and east of South 11th Street. Stover reminded residents that the township is not responsible for maintaining roads. That job falls to the county road commission.
• Township trustees gave a committee made up of Herschel Hoese, Dick Cooper and Chris Vella the authority to negotiate the purchase of a property near Brandywine Creek Nature Park that would allow for the Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail to extend north and eventually hook up with the City of Niles’ trail.
• Township trustees passed a resolution of support to restore Department of Human Services at the South County Building.
• Township trustees awarded a bid to Arnt Asphalt Sealing, of Benton Harbor, to do reseal and repair work this summer at both fire stations and the township hall.