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Published: Monday, 8/25/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Bedford Twp. residents urged at 4 sessions

Special assessment for roads is at issue

Steiner Steiner

TEMPERANCE — Public feedback has been favorable so far on a proposal to assess Bedford Township property owners $75 per year for five years for road improvements, a board member reported last week.

Trustee Rick Steiner told his colleagues that all the comments he has received supported the idea. He urged citizens to attend the two town hall meetings on the topic the board has scheduled in addition to the two statutory public hearings.

He advised anyone unable to attend to email questions to the board so they can be addressed at the public forums.

At its Aug. 12 meeting, the board adopted a resolution starting the process to explore the feasibility of establishing a special assessment district across the entire township. Property owners would pay $75 per parcel to generate an annual $925,000 dedicated to Bedford’‍s roads.

This revenue stream would finance a long-term pavement management plan the board’‍s engineer, Mannik & Smith Group, is preparing for primary and local roads.

This plan will exclude subdivision streets, but the special assessment, if adopted, would free up general fund money for use on them.

Michigan’‍s funding formula for roads excludes townships, whose roads are under the control of the county road commissions.

With a special assessment in place, however, Bedford’‍s road projects could mostly bypass the Monroe County Road Commission, which would be limited to soliciting bids and reviewing engineering plans. The agency would not get its usual 10 percent cut of a project’‍s cost.

At last week’‍s board meeting, Treasurer Paul Francis said notices of the town hall meetings and public hearings would be mailed to all township addresses about Sept. 1 and Oct. 1.

The board has the authority to establish the special assessment district on its own, but it doesn’t want to proceed without public input.

The town hall meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 9 and Oct. 9 in the Bedford Junior High School cafeteria. The first public hearing is slated for Sept. 23, at the same location and time, and the second on Oct. 21 at the regular board meeting, when the board could decide to proceed and vote, depending on the public feedback.

Mr. Francis said the township would post “Bedford Township Roads ... Fix Them or Not Fix Them?” on its Web site, along with the pavement management plan.

The first document lays out the case for the special assessment.

“We want people to support [the special assessment], because if they don’‍t, we need to rethink,” Mr. Francis said.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.

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