Road commissions are charged with providing reasonably safe roads to the motoring public through construction and maintenance efforts.
The Calhoun County Road Department (CCRD) maintains 1,300 miles of primary and local roads. Revenues are received through the State of Michigan under Public Act 51. These funds are generated through gas tax and license plate fees. Also under this authority, the road department is governed on how the funds are spent.
Funding is heavily weighted to primary roads where the traffic volume is greatest. Improvements on primary roadways are funded directly by Act 51.
For local roads, the law does not allow CCRD to spend any funds for resurfacing or reconstruction of local roads without financial participation from the local level. A match is required on local road projects, but the cost must be directed through the township. [View policy]
Each year, CCRD evaluates the roads in Calhoun County using national standards for surface quality. In this national rating system, a 1 means “Failed” and is a very deteriorated pavement; 8 is “Very Good” and is what a newly chip and sealed surface looks like; a 9 is “Excellent” as in a newly resurfaced road; and a 10 is “Excellent” and is a newly constructed road. Any road rated 4 or higher is considered to be at least “Fair”.
Local Road Program:
Each township handles the funding of the local match requirement in different ways. The most prevalent format is a millage directed to an account designated to fund the local match costs. The CCRD, with input from the township, prioritizes and determines which local roads will be improved each year. There are only a limited amount of funds each year, so in the absence of an enormous levy each year, most local roads could see some improvement work every 15-20 years. The downside of this process is that a property owner could pay into this fund for several years without benefiting directly.
Another funding option that townships have for the local road match is to place the prioritization and designation of local roads for restoration in the hands of the property owners. The affected property owners pay only when they desire an improvement on their local road. A Special Assessment District is set up for these property owners.
Each township has their own step process to establish a special assessment district. An example of one Calhoun County township’s step process is as follows:
- Property owners define a segment of local road and what type of improvement they desire. The Road Department and the township can provide more information on the options available.
- The Road Department will estimate the project costs.
- The “local” match costs are determined for each property owner.
- A petition is circulated to affected property owners.
- When at least 51% of the affected property owners have signed the petition, the Township Board creates a Special Assessment District and sets a formal Public Hearing for the project.
- Each affected property owner receives for- mal notice of the process and is given the opportunity to vote in writing or at a hearing called for this purpose. This is a democratic process controlled by the affected property owners, with the majority prevailing.
- If no more than 50% object to the creation of the Special Assessment District, it is created and the project is scheduled.
- CCRD delivers the final cost of the project and the township sends bills and collects the funds from the property owners at the conclusion of the entire project. Under most circumstances, the Township Board will allow up to 2 years to satisfy the debt at a simple interest rate determined at the time.
Please contact your township for information on their local road match program.