Sandel, chairwoman of a special citizens’ road committee, said signs and flyers have been constructed and a door-to-door campaign will begin in April. The volunteers will be trying to persuade township residents to support a local road millage request in a special election Tuesday, May 5.
Residents will be asked to approve three mills over five years to fix, maintain, pave and construct roads within the township. Also on the ballot will be half-mill proposal for six years to replace fire department equipment and vehicles.
The special election was made possible in December when the Michigan Legislature set a special election May 5 to let voters statewide decide on a proposed one-cent hike in the state sales tax to fund roads.
Sandel insists the local road millage is separate from the state request.
“Even if the state gets approval (on the sales tax increase), very little will trickle down to our township,” she said. “And what the township has left in its road fund from prior millages is running out.”
She added that the citizens’ committee has decided on a five-year program because there are serious needs to repair and upgrade local roads.
Sandel said the most urgent needs are in the northeast and northwest quadrants of the township.
She noted the Allegan County Road Commission plans to reconstruct, widen and pave 18th Street north from 142nd Avenue to 144th Avenue in 2017, which will create a traffic bottleneck and a need for constructing paved detours. So the committee recommends paving 144th Avenue at 20 th Street east to half of the northern detour route, covering three-quarters of a mile. Then do 20th Street at 144th Avenue south to half the northern detour route, three-quarters of a mile.
• Another priority is paving 144th Avenue from 14th 1.35 miles west to give direct access to Moline.
• Next would be 22nd Street at 142nd Avenue north to 146th to give direct access to Wilson Avenue in Kent County.
• Regarded as “optional is a a joint project (if Salem Township agrees and its schedule allows) 24th Street at 142nd Avenue1.5 miles north to 108th, actual three-mile stretch the costs of which the two townships could split 50-50.
• Another possibility would be 16th Street Between 140th and 138th where a culvert is already scheduled to be replaced later this year, but “We need to consider getting this pavement ready since the equipment will already be in place. It would be cost effective in the long run,” the committee’s recommendation reads.
Sandel has said it is critical that the Dorr road millage is approved in May because otherwise, “The earliest we could have another election on this proposal would August 2016, and I don’t know if our roads can hold up until then.”
The previous road millage has expired, and Sandel said it’s just not enough to handle the township’s growing transportation needs.
“All of our roads are over capacity for what they were built for,” she commented.
A request for 2.75 mills for local roads was defeated by just 22 votes, 644 to 622 in the August primary in 2012.
PHOTO: Carolyn Sandel shows the prototype of the flyers that will be distributed this spring to promote the local millage request for roads.