TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Township Board is considering the addition of a weighmaster to monitor the loads carried by tractor-trailers through the township.
Township Trustee Nancy Tienvieri has wanted one for years and asked for an item to be included on the April 18 agenda.
The topic was tabled for further discussion.
Ms. Tienvieri said many trucks travel east and west between U.S. 23 and I-75. According to Michigan law, tractor-trailers must weigh no more than 80,000 pounds.
“I’m not talking about trucks that have a destination in Bedford where they're making a delivery,” she said. “I don’t want to stop commerce. But trucks that get from 75 to 23 are overweight. They’re doing it for whatever reason, and they’re tearing up our roads.”
Bedford Township has spent about $10 million in road improvements over the last four years, and officials have a strong desire to protect their investment.
A recently passed ordinance established truck routes throughout the township. Portions of Douglas, LaVoy, Reed, Samaria, Secor, St. Anthony, and Sulier roads were approved for tractor-trailers, along with a section of Enterprise Drive.
Ms. Tienvieri said the Michigan State Police have the authority to stop rigs, but their concentration is elsewhere in Monroe County. Monroe County Sheriff's deputies are not authorized to perform stops.
Possibilities include sending state police officers to the township, and training contracted deputies from the sheriff’s office. Ms. Tienvieri and Township Supervisor Paul Pirrone believe the township would be best served having its own weighmaster.
Should the board go that direction, the law states 70 percent of the fine money would go to the township, and 30 percent would go to the Monroe County Library System.
“And it’s not taking anything away from the library because nothing is being collected right now,” Ms. Tienvieri said. “It’s additional [library] funding, and we can put [the rest] toward keeping our roads maintained. To me, it’s a no-brainer.
“There are people on the board who would prefer to add a road millage onto our taxpayers; I'm not in that group.”
Ms. Tienvieri said scales for weighing the tractor-trailers would cost $8,000 each, and training for one person is $800.
Nancy Bellaire, director of the library system, said about $1 million of the library’s annual budget is funded with overweight fines collected in the county.
Mr. Pirrone said Scott Assenbacher from the Monroe County Road Commission will give a presentation on the subject at the May 16 board meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Township Hall.
“I'm going to wait until the 16th to actually decide if we want to hand this over to our police committee or make a decision as a board,” Mr. Pirrone said. “There’s a lot to look into.”
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