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PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT --- BEDFORD TWP TOWN HALL ROAD ASSESSMENT MEETNGS SCHEDULED

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT – BEDFORD TWP. TOWN HALL MEETINGS SCHEDULED

  **This is a big deal for Bedford Township – a realistic, cost effective plan to begin restoring our roads to safer condition.  The Township Road Committee enthusiastically seeks public review and discussion regarding the proposed plan, and has scheduled two Town Hall style meetings, and two Public Hearings specifically for that purpose.  PLEASE JOIN US to hear and discuss the proposed road maintenance and improvement plan details and proposed funding plan.  The scheduled public meetings are as follows:

 

September 9, 2014 - Town Hall Meeting – 7.00pm,  Bedford Jr. Hi. Cafeteria         Video of Mtg pt. 1       Video of mtg. part 2

                                                                                                8405 Jackman Rd., Temperance, MI            

September 23, 2014 1st Public Hearing – 7:00pm, Bedford Jr. Hi. Cafeteria

                                                                                                8405 Jackman Rd., Temperance, MI

October 9, 2014Town Hall Meeting – 7:00pm,     Bedford Jr. Hi. Cafeteria

                                                                                                8405 Jackman Rd., Temperance, MI

October 21, 2014Final Public Hearing – 7:00pm, Bedford Twp. Gov’t Center

                                                                                                8100 Jackman Rd., Temperance, MI

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PAVEMENT ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN MAP

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP ROADS…..

FIX THEM OR NOT FIX THEM? 

THAT IS THE QUESTION FACING THE TOWNSHIP BOARD TODAY

(A message from the Bedford Township Road Committee – Greg Stewart, Larry O’Dell and Paul Francis)

WHOSE ROADS ARE THEY, AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THEM?

                Michigan state law (Public Act 51) specifies that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), counties, cities and incorporated villages have jurisdiction and responsibility for the construction and maintenance of all public roads within their respective jurisdictions.  They also carry the legal liability for the roads.  Townships are not part of the Public Act 51 formula, as their roads are under the control of county road commissions.

 

HOW ARE ROADS FUNDED?

 

  Funding for road construction and maintenance is provided by the state legislature through Public Act 51 to these governmental agencies only (not to townships).  Michigan funds public roads primarily from two sources - a per-gallon gas tax ($.19 cents per gallon) and vehicle registration fees.  Michigan state gas tax has not been increased since 1997; however costs for road maintenance and materials have increased dramatically since then.  The cost of asphalt has risen by at least 75% over the last ten years alone.  Drivers also pay a six percent (6%) sales tax at the gas pump, but NONE of this sales tax goes to roads.  Instead, the 6% sales tax is set aside for schools and revenue sharing.  Today’s vehicles burn less gasoline (some hybrids burn hardly any  gas at all), thereby generating less gas tax revenues, yet the costs of road maintenance continues to rise each year. 

 

The U.S. Census Bureau ranked Michigan dead last in the entire country for its per capita spending on roads.  In fiscal year 2009-2010, the most recent figures available, Michigan spent just $154 per person on its highways, or about 0.45% of personal income.  Our state has ranked at least 42nd or worse in per capita road spending for the last half century. (Michigan Township Focus, June 2014)

 

WHAT’S THE FUNDING SOLUTION?  

 

                Engineers, transportation advocates, and residents alike say the answer to our road problems is clear – road funding must increase.  However, making that happen is far from simple.  The state legislators have worked for years to come up with a comprehensive funding solution, but seemingly cannot agree on anything substantive (except when to recess for summer vacation, and how to get themselves reelected). 

 

Over the past year, there have been several proposals floated about such as House Bill 5447 in early May 2014, which would eliminate the 19 cent gas tax and replace it with a 6% wholesale tax.  The Senate initially proposed gradually increasing the wholesale tax over four years to 15.5% in 2018.  Once fully phased in, it would have raised up to $1.5 billion per year.  However, that plan was defeated, as well as a resolution that would have allowed voters to approve a 1%  sales tax increase to pay for roads.  The last attempt to raise additional road funds was a substitute for HB 5477 that would have tied the 19 cent gas tax to the rate of inflation and put the 15 cent diesel tax at the same rate as regular gasoline.  That attempt also failed to pass.

 

All in all, there have been several proposals made by both the Michigan House and Senate, but none have received enough support to become state law.

 

OTHER STATES have managed to find a solution to their road funding problems.  For example, in 2013, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a piece of legislation that is estimated to raise $2.3 billion per year for roads.  Like Michigan, Pennsylvania had suffered from nearly two decades of underfunding its roads. With the passage of this bill, its transportation system is getting a major boost from lifting the cap on the oil company franchise tax paid by fuel distributors and increasing traffic fees, fines and surcharges, all while eliminating the cents per gallon gas tax.

 

So far, most in Michigan aren’t advocating for a particular method of increasing funding.  What matters most is that the Legislators find a way to raise spending for roads.  Experts agree that the longer Michigan waits to find a funding solution, the more it will cost.  Every dollar that isn’t spent today on roads will cost $6 to $14 more later.

 

 

**PROPOSED SOLUTION FOR BEDFORD’S ROAD PROBLEMS**

 

If we do nothing except wait for Lansing to adequately fund the county road commissions throughout the state, we will be watching our roads continue to deteriorate before our eyes.  Because our roads simply cannot wait until the Legislature in Lansing gets its act together, puts aside the politics, and agrees on a comprehensive road funding solution, simply stated, if we want Bedford’s roads fixed, we will have to fix them ourselves.   

 

PAVEMENT ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN

In early July, the Township Board contracted with the firm of Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. (our township engineers) to provide engineering services necessary to prepare a Pavement Asset Management Plan for all primary and local township roads exclusive of subdivision streets.  This plan will provide the basis for cost effective pavement maintenance of the road network serving Bedford Township.  There are approximately 101 miles of such roads within the township, and the decisions as to when and how to maintain the pavement surfaces are critical to the longevity of the pavement surfaces.  A Pavement Asset Management Plan will help the township select the proper surface treatment for pavements which include over band crack sealing, single seals, double seals, scrub seals, slurry seals, micro surfacing, double micro surfacing, zone patching, Ultra-thin overlays, HMA (hot mix asphalt) overlays, cold mix asphalt, full depth reclamation, and complete reconstruction. 

 

Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. will use a pavement asset management system roughly based on the PASER system methodology used by MCRC and MDOT modified to rate the condition of each street segment, based on physical examination and compilation of relevant data to support a prioritized, running three year work plan, recommending needed surface treatments and reconstruction including estimated costs.  The running three year plan will be reviewed and updated at least annually as road conditions dictate.

 

A summary of the Pavement Asset Management Plan can be viewed on the township web site at:  www.bedfordmi.org  

 

**PROPOSED FINANCING FOR THE RUNNING THREE YEAR PAVEMENT ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN **         

 

Obviously, an effective road maintenance and improvement plan such as this will require an increased level of funding not experienced in Bedford Township before now.  The projected cost for proposed road maintenance and improvement projects is about $925,000 per year for five years.  Hopefully within the next five years the state legislature will have increased road funding (trickling down to Bedford Township) to a level that will reduce or eliminate the need for additional local funding such as this plan entails.

 

There are two principal methods of generating this level of funding:  (1) a one mill tax increase for roads for five years, or (2) a township-wide special assessment of $75 per taxable parcel for roads for five years.  At the end of five years, the Township Board will analyze the results and decide whether or not to continue the program. All funds generated by either of these funding methods would be restricted for maintenance and improvements to Bedford Township roads, and will be administered by the Bedford Township Board.

 

A one mill tax increase would generate approximately $975,000 per year, and would cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $100 per year in additional property taxes. 

 

A township-wide special assessment of $75 per taxable parcel would generate approximately $925,000 per year, and would cost all property owners $75 per year in additional property taxes (everyone paying the same amount). 

 

**RECOMMENDATION** 

 

Because Bedford Township roads are in such poor condition, and there seems to be no realistic expectation for state funding (trickling down to Bedford) to increase by $925,000 per year in the foreseeable future, the Bedford Township Board, acting on the strong recommendation of the Township Road Committee, approved (at the August 12th meeting) a formal resolution to “pursue the possibility of creation of a township-wide special assessment district for public road maintenance and improvements”.  In essence, this resolution authorizes the Township Road Committee to move forward on a tentative basis with the planning for a township-wide Special Assessment for road maintenance and improvements, the scheduling of Town Hall style meetings to present to the public the Pavement Asset Management Plan and proposed funding plan, the scheduling of public hearings, mailings of required notices of public hearings, required publications, etc.