A little history provides insight about Salem road millage

To the editor:

Re: How has Salem Townshop gotten away with 5-mill road levy?

One has to look back into the history of the townships around Salem to understand the problem.

When the millage issue came up for renewal in neighboring townships their supervisors at the time felt their township would remain a rural farming community .
An example is Dorr Township shortly after the millage was no longer on the ballot, the developments of Ranchero and Litchfield appeared… this was a mixture of 235 housing and homes sold not under the 235 program.
Now Dorr had a influx of city folk that expected better roads than the poorly maintained gravel roads… a minor “fix” was to have every new development pave access to a paved road closest to the new development, which of course the cost of this was passed on to the buyer of the home in the new development, hence the start of a major problem.
Now you had “locals” who disliked the first two developments (calling them “rabbit hutches”) and any further development… plus the new developments that were paying for a paved road and sidewalks in many cases.
So, when road millage votes arise (in Dorr), they are usually voted down (surprisingly, the last one passed )
It is because there were supervisors at the time who were so near sighted they could not see the future development of their township that many townships are in this mess. (Records should show townships like Dorr had a road millage the same as Salem, but the powers that be felt there was no need to purse it when it came up for a vote again).
That being said, since I live on a paved road in Dorr Township, would I vote for a road millage the answer is No… I refuse to pay for the lack of foresight of the previous governing bodies.

Harry Smit, Dorr Township


  • Mr. Smit,
    Just who do you think will pay to repair and resurface your paved road? Unless it is classified as a county primary road, and less than 10 percent of the roads in Dorr are county roads, the township must pay to maintain it.
    The road millage in Dorr is primarily used to place new gravel on dirt roads, dust control and to repair and resurface existing paved roads. Most paved roads in Dorr were paid for by the good folks in Dorr, even yours; other folks helped pave your road, but you do not wish to help others pave or maintain their roads. You certainly have the right to vote no, but ask yourself, just who paid for your road and how it will it get the maintenance vital to it remaining passable?
    The ability for ambulances, fire trucks and school buses to pass safely down our roads is a basic need for us all. You would be surprised when you read the surveys Carolyn Sandel received back from the school bus drivers in all our local school districts. The Dorr Fire Department also has major problems with our roads.
    We all know good people who tragically died in vehicle accidents on our currently dangerous and poorly designed roads.
    The Citizens Road Committee will meet at the Dorr Township Hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14; you are welcome to take part in the advisory process. Please attend; Carolyn Siedel, the very competent chair, is always looking for more folks to offer opinions, and you may just gain insight into the very complex and multifaceted process.
    See you there.

  • Mr Traxler
    I’m not about to get into a verbal match with you….but yes one of the roads I am near is a primary….but do some research as to way the other road in front of my property only goes a certain distance.,,,,, I may be corrected but I have been a resident of this township much longer than yourself….I have seen and experienced all the “wonderful ideas” that were done without any solid idea on how to maintain the project ( example the pathways in Dorr…a much needed project but nothing that I am aware of to keep repairs budgeted by the township ….it is a fix if we can afford it ….)
    Yes I am aware of the problems cars, buses, etc have on the gravel roads….my question to you and the others is ,,,,,,if the township can not maintain the gravel roads to a safe level what makes one think they will be able to maintain paved roads ?
    Have the township prove they can maintain safe gravel roads for two years than I will back paving more roads …..for almost 50 + yrs I have seen these improvements that today are not maintained…..are unmaintained paved roads any safer than the gravel roads we have now ??
    As for attending the meeting …..show me how or were the money is going to come from for maintaining what this committee has plans for already.
    Until this township gets more businesses , industry here only we the residents will pay more outrageous taxes for improved roads that really help how many . The largest amount of residents do not have to travel very far to a paved road now, How many residents in the developments ever “stray off” 142nd or 18th street .?
    So no you will not see me at the meeting…..besides if I am the only one who is against another raise in my property taxes…..you and the committee should have no trouble raising our taxes every election cycle

    • Mr. Smit,
      We do agree on the need for more commercial property in Dorr to boost the tax base. You are also correct in that you have resided in Dorr longer than I, I envy you; being an “Army Brat” and then a career soldier, moving was part of the life and three years was a long time to be on one assignment.
      Please attend the Citizens Road Committee or go to the Township hall and request to look at the book outlining all the efforts of the committee, with the detailed road improvement plan as a tab. All the financial data you requested is there also. As for making the roads safer when paved, the roads are widened, the blind and extremely dangerous hills are cut down and made much safer. The fixed objects, mostly trees, are removed from the right of way. Vehicle to fixed objects is the largest road related killer in Allegan County; removing the trees saves lives. Wider roads are safer roads, and topping the hills increases safety for you and me, as well as Police, Fire, Ambulance, School buses, farm vehicles, nearly everything.
      As to your question “are unmaintained paved roads any safer than the gravel roads we have now??” the answer is no. Any and all roads in any place in the world I have been sent, gravel or paved roads are inherently dangerous if not properly maintained. A saying we had in the Army was maintenance is next to godliness; the Dorr road millage goes mostly to maintaining our current roads. Every road ever built regardless of surface, any place in the world, will fail if not properly looked after. With basic maintenances, paved wider roads with a cleared right of way and better line of sight are safer, much safer than a gravel road.
      Good debate Mr. Smit, thank you. Please stay involved; we in Dorr, new and lifetime residents, need a good discussion on all issues.

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