Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 1, 2013

Road millage slated for 2013 ballot


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — It's official: Grand Traverse voters in November will decide whether to pony up tax money to improve county roads.

Grand Traverse County commissioners voted Wednesday to add the county Road Commission's three-year, 1-mil millage request on this November's ballot.

The measure will generate about $4.4 million annually for local road maintenance and repairs if approved. About $3 million of the annual total would be destined for the road commission, $750,000 for Traverse City, and lesser amounts earmarked for the county’s villages and downtown development authorities.

Commissioners unanimously approved the millage request after several board members said they don't expect any additional state or federal dollars for road improvements any time soon.

"If this doesn't pass we are going to have our roads continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace and we will not be happy living in our community," Lemcool said during Wednesday's meeting.

Lemcool added he hopes community members and other organizations will help sell the millage to voters.

One community member, former county Commissioner Jason Gillman, spoke during the meeting's public comment session and questioned whether local officials have exhausted all possible appeals to state legislators for help with road funding before floating the tax increase.

Gillman said he doesn't support the road millage and doesn't think it's fair to tie road improvements to property taxes. Not all property owners use roads equally, he said.

"All you're doing is forcing people who don't use the roads as much to subsidize those who do," Gillman said.

A 1-mil levy costs the owner of a home with a taxable value of $75,000 an additional $75 in taxes annually.