Road Commission seeks voter approval of five-year millage renewal

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Officials with the Kalkaska County Road Commission are hoping taxpayers liked what they saw back in 2015 after passing a new five-year, 1.0-mill levy for countywide road construction and improvements.

That’s because, after ballot language was recently approved by the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners at their March meeting, the KCRC is asking voters to approve a five-year, 1.0-mill renewal as part of a special election in August.

“The millage generates approximately $740,000 per year,” said John Rogers, KCRC manager. “Although the first five years helped fix some roads in Kalkaska County that were in dire need of repair, we still have many miles to go.”

Five years ago, road commission officials knew they needed to seek additional funding or otherwise watch miles of county roads deteriorate further.

According to the KCRC, in 2013, 29 percent of the paved county roads were rated in poor condition and 35 percent were rated in fair condition. Maybe more alarming was the fact that 64 percent of county roadways roads were scored 5 or under on a 1-to-10 scale.

Rogers said the original millage has helped make sure those scores didn’t slip even lower.

“I would say that the first millage was a success,” he said. “We were able to keep up with the deterioration and keep our roads rated 5 and under from increasing. If it wasn’t for the millage this would be a much greater percentage than 64 percent.”

Much of the revenue generated by the 1.0-mill levy was used to provide matching funds for state or federal grants. That, in essence, allowed KCRC officials to “stretch” or capture additional funding through the expenditure of a lesser amount of local funds.

“Every year, approximately $400,000 of federal money is available requiring a 20-percent local match,” Rogers said. “This renewed millage would continue to allow the road commission to meet the local match requirements and keep federal and state money in Kalkaska.

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