Rural township taking action on roads with millage

PULASKI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — Drive through anywhere in mid-Michigan and you’re sure to encounter bumpy roads.

But more and more, communities are choosing not to wait for a fix from the state and are taking action through road repair millages.

6 News visited Pulaski Township where a millage is on the ballot next week.

It’s a small community with a big problem.

Roads in desperate need of repair and not enough money to fix them.

So now the township is asking voters for help, following a trend set by other townships in Jackson County.

It only has one store and a one traffic light, but Pulaski Township has roads like a big city.

“A lot of tire problems and overall just the potholes. We’re constantly getting complaints about it,” said Pulaski Township Supervisor Bob Jones.

Jones says because of a lack of state funds and no tax dollars going to repairs, local roads have fallen behind.

Next Tuesday, voters in Pulaski Township will consider a millage that intends to raise $500,000 over five years to fix both paved and dirt roads.

“If your taxable value is $100,000, you’re going to pay around $200 a year,” said Pulaski Township Treasurer Theresa Riske. “I’ve had damage to my own car that I’ve had to have repaired because of the potholes. It’s not good.”

Pulaski is the third township in Jackson County to launch a road repair millage in 2017.

Voters in Spring Arbor Township passed a road millage in May.

And Summit Township will also put a millage before voters next week to fix all of their neighborhood streets.

Officials in all three townships say they want make up for a lack of state funds.

“I think we need the state money, but we want to get relief on the roads now instead of waiting. That way, we figure that within five years the county should be able to receiving this money from the state so they can put more money toward the roads,” Jones said.

All of these townships are in State Senator Mike Shirkey’s district.

“They’re taking it upon themselves, I’m proud of them,” said Shirkey, a republican who presents Michigan’s 16th senate district.

Senator Shirkey says a plan to fix the roads is already moving and communities will be seeing more state funds in the coming years.

“We did that because we didn’t want to overburden our reduct/reduce capacity to build roads which would result in artificially raising prices and raising costs. So it’s taken a little bit of time and it was done on purpose,” Shirkey said.

While some question why townships should create new taxes to make up for the state, Shirkey doesn’t see a problem with it.

“No, especially if they put it up for a vote and voters approve it. I think it’s great leadership properly framing the need,” Shirkey said.

The supervisor says so far the Pulaski millage has gotten a positive response from residents and he hopes they realize something needs to be done.

“If it makes it better for everybody, that’s what I want,” Shirkey said.

Voters in both Spring Arbor and Pulaski townships will make decisions on the road millages during Michigan’s August Election on Tuesday Aug. 8.

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