BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
TRAVERSE CITY — Voters bulldozed a proposed 1-mill tax levy that would have raised approximately $4.5 million annually to improve and repair Grand Traverse County roads.
Several voters said they weren't happy with a recent wage increase the road commission gave to administrative staff.
"I don't feel the road commission is managing the funds that they have wisely right now," said Nicole Swager, of Garfield Township.
Fred Cook, a school bus driver from Traverse City, said the raises made it a tough vote for him, but he still supported the millage.
"I understand stuff doesn't get done unless we raise our taxes," Cook said.
Melanie Hardy, of Traverse City, just wanted the roads fixed.
"As a driver I'm constantly yelling at our roads, so any improvement would be OK with me," she said.
"I didn't think it was a good idea," said Kathy Chamberlain, of Garfield Township. "They already got extra money in the federal stimulus."
Dave Taylor, a member of the road commission board, said the raises hurt, but he doesn't believe it was the sole reason the millage request fell.
Taylor said there was "no doubt" the road commission needed the money, but they'll just have to find another way to repair roads.
"I'm not sure yet how, but we are not going to not fix them," Taylor said. "We've got to. We're not going to let our roads go back to gravel."