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Kalamazoo Township may take bond issue to voters to fix roads


KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP (WKZO) -- A recent survey of Kalamazoo Township residents suggested that they would be willing to pay a little more in taxes if it meant smoother roads.

Monday night the Township Board voted to give their constituents a chance to put their money where their mouths are and gave tentative approval for a bond issue.

Right now the Township gets about 300-thousand dollars annually to spend on roads, which isn’t nearly enough according to Trustee George Cochran. He  says each year they will just watch the roads continue to deteriorate without some new funding.

The Trustees considered a lot of options. Two of them; a road millage and special assessments would only allow the township to finance construction on a pay as you go basis.

The option they picked, a bond issue will permit them to fix all the roads that need addressing in the next couple of years.

Supervisor Ron Reid says they save cash because prices will only go up, and there are efficiencies in doing all the projects at once instead of piecemeal.

Its not a done deal.  The Township Board has only authorized  Supervisor Ron Reid to hire bond council and get some estimates of how much it will cost.    Once they have worked out the details they will also have to vote to actually put it on the ballot.  

Reid says if they put the question on the February ballot, they will have time to get some of the work started next construction season.

Clerk Don Thall says a February vote would cost the Township much more than going in May, when they could piggyback on a countywide ballot.  In February they might be the only thing on the ballot and have to pay for and conduct their own election.  . 

There is no gaurantee that voters will accept the proposal when its presented to them, but board members  hope to provide enough information to convince a majority that their plan is the best of the alternatives.

They will be releasing how much it will cost voters and the list of roads that would be repaired in the public's hands in advance of the vote. 

Road funding issues were very popular in the election earlier this month around Michigan. 80% of the requests for new money passed, and every single renewal was also approved by voters.