TEMPERANCE - Before a packed room last night, the Bedford Township Board approved the creation of a special assessment district that will assess local residents in order to repair the roads and drainage in the Green Hills subdivision.
After an often contentious public hearing, the board voted unanimously to create the district, which will impose assessments of about $5,000 on each of the 253 parcels in one of Bedford Township's most established subdivisions.
The money will be used to fund a $1.2 million replacement and repair project next year that engineers say will improve the deteriorated roads and underlying drainage problems in the subdivision.
About 55 percent of the residents in the subdivision signed petitions to create the special assessment district.
Residents have the option of paying the assessment in a lump sum or spreading it out over as many as 15 years, with interest. The assessments will be levied on the December, 2006, tax bill.
Though the township board's vote was unanimous, the public hearing was anything but, as proponents and opponents of the large project - all of whom are neighbors - argued vehemently both into the microphone and behind it.
"We need these roads desperately. Day in and day out, my car takes punishment," said Myrl Patton, who lives on Kennilworth Drive, the main road in and out of Green Hills. "It would be nice to be able to walk those roads again, but it's not safe."
Yesterday marked the first time proponents of the Green Hills project have been able to reach majority status on their petitions. Previous petition efforts this year failed to get the number of residents required to move ahead with the project.
Greg Stewart, one of the leaders in the earlier effort and a supporter of this petition, lamented what he called misinformation.
"There [have been] a lot of red herrings here tonight. There's one focused question and one answer: Do you want the roads fixed? The only way to get the roads fixed is to pay the money," Mr. Stewart said.
But opponents were not persuaded, and vowed to fight on.
"I think we were deceived. I'm not against having a road improvement project in Green Hills, but the problem is that the roads have been neglected for 30, 40, 50 years, and now you want us to foot 100 percent of the bill," said Mike Malone, one of the most vocal opponents of the district.
"See you in court," Mr. Malone later told the board.