TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Road Commission reversed a decision to halt funding to a regional transportation planning group, and in doing so may have picked up a measure of support for the road board’s looming millage proposal.
Road board members in January voted to halt roughly $20,000 worth of annual dues to the Traverse City Area Transportation and Land Use Study.
The road commission made a U-turn during a recent meeting and voted to contribute dues to TALUS, albeit in a lesser amount of $10,000 annually. Board member Marc McKellar said TALUS refocused its efforts on traffic planning and making sure its 22 member agencies receive a return on their investment.
“They seem to be headed in the right direction, so we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt,” McKellar said.
McKellar said the decision had nothing to do with an upcoming presentation to TALUS board members about the road commission’s three-year, 1-mill tax increase proposal slated to appear on the November ballot.
The road commission never withheld dues from TALUS, McKellar said. Board members’ January vote was to go into effect Oct. 1, the start of TALUS’ 2013-14 fiscal year. The road board’s reversal vote on Sept. 26 ensured that wouldn’t happen.
Road commission Manager Jim Cook said TALUS dues came up while he was meeting with TALUS Chair Lee Bowen about the millage presentation in late September.
“Lee just came over and just asked the question ‘does the road commission still want to be a member (of TALUS) or not?’” Cook said.
A millage presentation is on the agenda for TALUS’ meeting today. Bowen said TALUS board members will discuss the millage after the presentation and may decide to formally support or oppose it. He said the road commission’s decision to start paying dues again won’t affect TALUS’ millage stance.
The road commission’s $10,000-pledge fell short of the approximately $17,000 in full dues — a reduction from the $20,000 in dues previously paid by the road board — TALUS hoped to receive.
Road board member John Nelson voted against funding TALUS in the amount of $10,000. Nelson, a longtime proponent of TALUS and a member of its board, said he wanted the road commission to provide the full amount sought by TALUS.