LAMBERTVILLE - After a previous unsuccessful attempt and a couple of false starts, residents in the Green Hills subdivision have convinced a majority of their neighbors to open their wallets to rebuild their crumbling roadways and the broken drains that damaged them.
A small committee last week turned in petitions to Bedford Township Hall that seek to create a special assessment district in Green Hills to pay for $1.25 million in road and drainage improvements in the 50-year-old subdivision.
According to the township records, 56 percent of eligible residents signed the petition representing 54 percent of the total frontage.
A simple majority of either would have been sufficient for the project to proceed.
"We didn't have so much from the opposition this time. It was easier this time. People were more willing to sign," said Harold Ray, one of the small group of Green Hills residents who circulated the petitions over the last two months.
With the petitions in hand, the township board will hold a formal public hearing on the proposed repairs on Nov. 1, clerk Bob Schockman said. Once held, the township board will vote on whether to establish the district and proceed with the repairs, which will be done in 2006.
The township previously spent $20,000 to assist Green Hills residents with the cost of the initial engineering on the reconstruction, which will replace 3.6 miles of roads and repair or replace several broken or damaged storm sewers.
However, a previous attempt to win support among Green Hills residents fell short in the spring and had to be withdrawn. At the time, vocal opposition to the plan argued that the deteriorating road conditions in Green Hills were the result of neglect on the part of the township and Monroe County Road Commission, who should be made to repair them.
Green Hills is also the only subdivision left in Monroe County with a neighborhood community pool - a luxury for which residents in the subdivision pay an annual assessment in excess of $300.
Even with the township's engineering contribution, the huge road and drainage project is still expected to cost each of the 251 lot owners approximately $5,000, which can be paid up front or - with interest - over a 15-year period.
Asked whether the project's price tag scared some residents, Mr. Ray said that a majority of residents realize that the work must be done and that it's only going to grow in cost as time progresses.
"It's a big project," Mr. Ray said. "We've got a big development, and they're doing the drainage also."
Low-income seniors are eligible to defer the assessment if they meet certain income qualifications.
In order to qualify, the applicant must be over 65, have occupied the home for at least five years, and have an income level at or below the federal poverty level.
If they qualify, the assessment amount isn't collected until the lot is sold or the occupant dies.