Army Bob: I support Dorr road millage as a taxpayer and resident

The Dorr Township road millage willArmy Bob Salutes be on the ballot May 5. In the spirit of full disclosure, I reside in Dorr Township and I volunteered to serve on the Citizens’ Road Committee studying the roads in our township.

The past six months have been a great learning experience; about how Dorr’s roads are funded, repaired, resurfaced and maintained. It is a subject few fully understand — I certainly did not.

Did you know that almost no property taxes go for roads? Did you know that of the 75 miles Bob Traxler_0of roads in Dorr Township, the county and/or state only maintain a few miles? That the maintenance of your roads, paved or gravel, is probably a township responsibility? It is a certainty that if you live in Dorr Township you travel township-maintained roads.

A large misperception is the belief that the road millage only goes to paving gravel roads. When a culvert is washed out on your paved road, the township is mostly responsible for repair, as it is for the pot holes and degraded shoulders. The resurfacing of gravel and paved public roads is also a township-funded responsibility, as is dust control.

The Citizens’ Road Committee is the brainchild of Carolyn Sandel, an exceptionally competent and dedicated resident of Dorr Township. Carolyn, foreseeing the future headaches that the lack of proper funding will cause, is working hard to prevent serious and potentially disastrous problems. She divided the township into quadrants and recruited ordinary citizens of Dorr to represent each of them.

Carolyn contacted all the schools that operate buses in the Township for input concerning safety and wear and tear on the buses. She also received advice from the Dorr fire and rescue folks concerning emergency response. She coordinated with neighboring townships to ensure consideration of cost-effective cost sharing options. Monthly workshops were held and experts were invited to provide education and options.

All meetings and workshops are advertised and fully open to the public; a Facebook page was developed and maintained to allow Dorr Township folks who could not attend meetings to follow the process and provide input (Citizens’ Road Committee – Dorr Michigan). An important note is that there is a process; safety, emergency response and the amount of traffic are paramount. I can fully and totally assure you that no consideration was given to the personal desires or convenience of committee members or any elected officials. I live on 21st Street, a dirt/gravel road, and I will not live long enough to see my portion of the gravel road paved — it is very low on the priority list.

The Michigan State ballot initiative May 5 addresses road funding. The state initiative raises well over a billion dollars for state roads and a basket full of other projects, but almost no funds will see their way down to fix Dorr Township roads. The state initiative, if it passes, will provide Dorr Township with an amount equivalent to paving 200 feet of the dozens of miles of dirt road, or repair of one and only one washed out large culvert, or resurfacing less than 300 yards of existing paved road.

In reality, the state initiative will not fix our township roads; state roads, interstate highways, bridges and other projects yes, but local roads, no. Vote for the state initiative if you wish, but understand Dorr Township roads will not benefit from the state initiative. If we want safe, decent roads in our township, we need to help ourselves and pass our own millage. Each and every road millage dollar goes for roads; it is “fenced” and cannot be mixed or siphoned off for other projects.

I will vote yes for the road millage May 5; it is the smart thing to do and it is the best and most cost effective way to improve our Township. Fixing our roads will save us money in the long run, as our private vehicles, school buses, emergency response vehicles and agricultural equipment will last longer. The improvement process will take time, but the good news is we have a process that is fair and well thought out, with all the good folks in Dorr Township being heard.

American Democracy does not get better than this. It will cost the average homeowner around sixty-three pennies a day and is the best investment possible to improve our township.

This millage represents the good folks in Dorr Township helping ourselves at the lowest and most cost effective possible level of government, straight out of President Reagan’s playbook. Join me and vote yes on our road millage 5 May 2015 to fix our roads.

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