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Road millage on Williamstown Township ballot

Posted at 8:26 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 06:36:33-05

LANSING, Mich. — In regards to Governor Gretchen Whitmer's $3.5 billion road funding plan, none of the extra money is going to individual communities, which is causing them to look for new ways to pay for their roads.

Eastern Ingham County's Williamstown Township had a consulting firm analyze its roads. They found that at least 24 miles of local roads need to be replaced.

One solution puts a pretty big tax increase on the ballot to pay for fixing those roads.

"It's not a pretty picture, but I'm glad that we had the report done because we had no idea that it was quite that bad," said Wanda Bloomquist, Williamstown Township supervisor.

It's a $7.5 million problem. In March, Williamstown Township voters will decide on a 2.97 millage property tax increase, which means an extra $297 a year for someone with a $200,000 house.

"Our intent is to address each and every road. That's our local roads. That doesn't include our county primaries," Bloomquist said.

Township leaders say they decided to move ahead with the millage when they realized they probably wouldn't be getting any more money from the state.

"With Governor Whitmer's State of the State speech, we are not going to get any more dollars toward our local roads. We really need to decide if our roads are an important asset for us to take care of," Bloomquist said.

On Epley Road, you can't drive very far without finding a pothole or signs supporting the proposal, but not everyone is in favor of the millage.

"Back in 2016, they put 16 cents a gallon on the gasoline tax and 20% on all registration for licenses and we never saw where that money went," said Jerry Wilson, a resident of Williamstown Township.

If the millage doesn't pass, Bloomquist said turning some roads back to gravel is a possibility.

"It's still an expense to turn them back to gravel so that would be something the township would have to look at," Bloomquist said.

There will be two public forums where people can ask questions about the proposal.

Back in 2014, Williamstown Township had a 1.5 millage increase on the ballot, which did not pass.

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