November 28, 2014

Arenac, Deep River townships and Standish all seeking millages

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com

Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — Voters in Arenac Township, Deep River Township, and the city of Standish will decide whether or not to support proposed millages on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Arenac and Deep River townships are seeking virtually identical road millages to help maintain and repair roads within their jurisdiction, while Standish hopes to pass a police millage to add another officer.

Millage amounts are determined by the taxable value of property; 1 mill is the equivalent of $1 for each $1,000 of taxable value.

Arenac Township is interested in a 1-mill, three-year millage for its roads. Clerk Cindy Halamar told the Independent in October that the proposal would raise an anticipated $23,656 in the first year. Currently the township has extremely limited funds to do any sort of road maintenance, and Halamar said that and requests by residents led to the millage being placed on the ballot.

If passed, the township is looking to work on portions of Wolfe Road between Conrad Road and US-23, Hagley Road between Sterling and Washington roads, and Hansel Road between Conrad and Hickory Island roads. Halamar said the township applies for grants to do road work, but those are never guaranteed sources of funding.

It initially appeared on the August primary ballot, but lost by a slim margin of 81-76. Halamar said the township board decided to give it another shot based on the results. The millage would run between 2012-2015.

Deep River’s road millage, like Arenac’s, is at 1-mill for three years, between 2012-2015. It would bring in an estimated $48,708 for work on local roads in the first year.

The township had a road millage in the past that was not renewed, and it has since depleted its remaining road funds while brining and graveling roads in the township. Clerk Karlia Kroczaleski-Raymond told the Independent in October the township does not have much of any funding left to continue maintaining roads.

No specific road projects have been discussed by the township board, as those conversations will wait until after the millage passes or fails.

Both Arenac and Deep River townships can take advantage of a fund-match program the Arenac County Road Commission holds. Kroczaleski-Raymond said the road commission will fund up to 50-percent of a road project, with a $25,000 limit for its contributions. Anything above that amount, the township would need to pay, she said.

If the millages fail, Deep River would likely put the millage back on a future ballot since it would be unable to do any notable road projects. Arenac Township would continue applying for road grants, Halamar said.

Standish is interested in adding a second police officer to improve coverage in the city, funding it with a 2-mill, two-year millage from 2013-2014. It would raise an estimated $77,000 in its first year.

City Manager Curt Hillman told the Independent in October the funds would supplement the existing money budgeted to the police department through the city’s general fund. He said the council feels the community needs the additional police protection, but would require the extra funding to get it.

Currently the city employs one officer, Police Chief Mark Christian. Any calls for service that occur within the city when he was not on duty need to be answered by outside entities such as the Michigan State Police or the sheriff’s department. A second officer would add visibility to the police department and cover more times of day, Hillman said.

The funding could also be used to purchase equipment needed by a second officer if necessary, Hillman said. If the measure fails, the city would continue doing what it does now, having Christian cover peak hours of the day while relying on outside entities to handle calls the rest of the time.

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