Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 4, 2014

State doles out more than $1.3 million for local roads

TRAVERSE CITY — State officials threw a bone to road commissions, cities and villages in the form of one-time funding to offset high winter maintenance costs.

Michigan’s Department of Transportation released just shy of $61 million to local entities on Thursday as part of a $100 million appropriation signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder last month. Governments in the Grand Traverse region received more than $1.3 million of that total.

The Grand Traverse County Road Commission was the region’s biggest winner, netting almost $450,000 from the appropriation. Manager Jim Cook said the added funding should help shore up a projected deficit of between $700,000 and $800,000 owed in part to commission officials’ decision to set aside $3.2 million for winter maintenance this year.

“I always tell people we spend almost 50 percent of our general fund budget maintaining roads in the wintertime, whereas southern road agencies would spend one-tenth of their budget on winter maintenance,” Cook said.

“This kind of puts us back maybe a little closer to what some of the southern road commissions have to spend on winter maintenance.”

Michigan Department of Transportation officials distributed the money to counties and municipalities based on a formula that accounts for factors like road mileage and population, according to an MDOT press release.

Villages like Kalkaska and Fife Lake will collect significantly smaller totals than county road commissions, but Fife Lake Village President Lisa Leedy said she’s grateful to receive even $3,400.

“We are small and we have such a small budget,” Leedy said. “Even the smallest amount of money has a huge impact on us. I’m happy with anything we get because it supplements our maintenance budget, which we went through pretty quickly this year.”

Traverse City’s state allocation amounts to about $64,000, the largest amount earmarked for a municipality in the Grand Traverse region.

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