Editorial

Army Bob, ex-Globe editor and I all support Dorr road millage

Dorr Roads PromoACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.

I endorse Dorr Township’s three-mill request for roads in the May 5 special election without any hesitation or reservations.

Robert M. Traxler, aka “Army Bob,” certainly has presented a solid number of good arguments. He now is being joined here not only by me, but also by Nila Aamoth, former editor of the Penasee Globe, who 25 years ago penned an editorial from personal experience about living on dusty rural gravel roads.

Ms. Aamoth, writing about the annual need for dust control from appliCarolyn Sandel2cations by chemicals that ruin the environment and the conditions of vehicles and equipment, opined:

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to stop dumping chemicals and dollars down the drain? What would happen if no dust control ap­plications were made, and the money was instead socked away in a future paving fund?

“Township officials say they will be deluged with complaints. So, what’s new? Ask them how many complaints they get now about dust control, and they’ll tell you it is a summer-long wailing. Let them wail, we say, and save those dusty dollars for another day.”

Socking away money into a paving fund is exactly what Dorr Township is proposing to do by levying three mills each year, perhaps until all gravel roads in the township are paved so dust control will no longer be necessary.

Salem Township and Monterey Township have done this over the years, and both now have the best roads in the county. Furthermore, they don’t have to endure that annual hand-wringing experience over applying chemicals to fight off the safety and health hazards of dust while fielding valid complaints from residents and farmers about calcium chloride rusting out machinery and vehicles.

What the Dorr Township Citizens Road Committee and Chair Carolyn Sandel are proposing is eventually to make dust control a thing of the past, an ancient relic that township government will no longer have to pay for. It won’t happen overnight, nor will it in just a couple of years. But if all Allegan County townships would have heeded Ms. Aamoth’s sage advice offered 25 years ago, none would even be talking about annual dust control services and costs today.

The Dorr Citizens Road Committee has done quality homework on this issue. It has put into practice that noble notion that government should solve public problems. As Army Bob so eloquently noted, the state and the feds won’t solve this local problem, so it’s up to local government to get it done.

I have been incredibly impressed with the grass-roots committee’s efforts for which Ms. Sandel has provided leadership. She’s been a no-nonsense, get-it-done player in this campaign. The committee members have sought and welcomed public opinion, and anyone who suggests they haven’t thought this through hasn’t been paying attention.

It is no secret that Michigan’s roads have been rated the worst among the 50 states, and I blame the do-nothing confederacy of dunces who sit in the State Legislature for being asleep at the wheel for too long in dealing with our infrastructure needs. So I understand and agree with local residents’ frustrations with this ugly mess, but the best thing Dorr Township can do now is to take matters into its own hands by voting “yes” for the local millage request.

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