Road fix proposal on ballot for Niles Twp.

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Leader file photo Niles Township residents will decide Aug. 4 if they want to pay a little extra for better roads.

Leader file photo
Niles Township residents will decide Aug. 4 if they want to pay a little extra for better roads.

Niles Township residents will have an opportunity to raise money to fix local roads when they head to the polls during a special election Tuesday, Aug. 4.

On the ballot is a proposal that would allow for the collection of up to $65 a year from each parcel of real property in Niles Township for the next 10 years.

The special assessment would generate approximately $430,000 a year — every cent of which would go toward funding maintenance, repair and replacement of roads in Niles Township.

Terry Eull, township clerk, said passing the proposal is the only way to ensure that local roads will get fixed.

“If we don’t do something, I think it will be unlikely that anything will happen to our local roads in the next five or 10 years,” he said. “Obviously, we can’t count on the state because they have proven time and time again that they aren’t interested in taking care of local roads.”

Townships, by law, do not have a responsibility to maintain roads. That responsibility falls upon county road commissions, which have been underfunded in recent years, leading to the poor condition of roads not just in Niles Township, but in municipalities across the state.

If the proposal passes, it would generate approximately $3.7 million over the course of 10 years — enough, Eull said, to take care of the township’s local roads.

“It is $650 spread out over 10 years,” Eull said. “That is a pretty economical way to go about getting decent roads in our local road systems.”

According to a proposal fact sheet provided by the township, property owners would have the ability to identify funds to be spent during the township’s budget process. Also, the sequence of road upgrades would be done based on traffic counts and the condition of roads.

If the state legislature comes up with additional revenue for roads, Eull said the township would have the ability to lower the amount of money levied from parcel owners through the special assessment. That is because the proposal is for an amount not to exceed $65 — meaning it could fall anywhere between $0 and $65.

For additional information, contact the township hall by phone at (269) 684-0870 or in person at 320 Bell Rd., Niles.