Rocky road ahead after big failure of Pulaski Twp. millage

PULASKI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — Millages appeared on ballots across mid-Michigan for Tuesday’s August election.

But the only one to fail was a road repair millage in a small rural township in Jackson County.

6 News talked with voters and officials about what went wrong in Pulaski Township.

The outcome of the road repair millage is the talk of the town.

“I was kind of disappointed. I thought it would be supported bigger than it was. But almost everybody is looking at the value of their dollar and what it’s going to cost them,” said Pulaski resident Kathy Smith.

65 percent voted against the millage, and only 35 percent of voters approved of it.

“I was surprised,” said Pulaski Township Supervisor Bob Jones.

Jones believes a lot of residents didn’t want new taxes and misinformation was getting around about what the millage would do.

“They weren’t sure where their money was going. We tried to stress it’s staying in Pulaski,” Jones said.

It would have raised $500,000 over five years to fix paved and dirt roads.

This year, two other townships in Jackson County put road repair millages on the ballot.

Voters in both Spring Arbor and Summit townships overwhelmingly approved their millages.

“We were hoping everyone would be on board to improve Pulaski. But I guess some people just don’t like change,” Jones said.

With the road millage failing by a big margin, township officials are now looking for alternatives so the roads don’t deteriorate even further.

The township board is meeting next week, but Jones says another millage is off the table.

“I wouldn’t vote to put it on another ballot. The people have spoken, and that’s how it will stay,” Jones said.

Without local tax dollars going directly to the roads, it’s now up to the Jackson County Department of Transportation to make repairs.

“This was just going to be some relief until that money arrived. That’s why we only went for five years. We’re at the mercy of the county now,” Jones said.

Christopher Bolt, the managing director of JDOT, says crews will continue to maintain roads in the township when funds are available.

However, Bolt says JDOT cannot commit to fully repair or replace roadways unless communities come up with the bulk of the cost through tax dollars.

He anticipates the county will work with Pulaski to come up with alternatives to fix their roads.

The millage stalled out, but the talk about bumpy roads in Pulaski is not in the rear-view mirror.

“If they want to complain about their roads they’ll have to complain to somebody other than the local people who are in charge here because they tried to do what they could do,” Smith said.

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