Liberty asks for road levy

LIBERTY – The township is asking residents to support a levy, which trustees say is mandatory for much-needed road resurfacing projects.

The levy, which will appear on the May ballot, is a 5-year, 1.25-mill road levy. Trustees note that the levy funds can only be used for road resurfacing and repairs.

Township Trustee Stan Nudell estimated that, if passed, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $43.75 a year and bring in about $256,000 to the township. If passed, Nudell said that township administrator Pat Ungaro will be able to apply for matching grant money.

“We can’t get that matching grant money (for road repairs) without passing the levy first,” Nudell said. “Matching grants used to be 60 percent (of the local contribution), now it’s about 40 percent because there is a lot of competition. Even so, another 40 percent (of the levy funds) would really help us get a lot of road work done.”

The township is trying again with this levy after failing in 2013 and 2012. In November, the levy proposal failed with 44 percent of the voters for it to 56 percent against.

Nudell said that this issue is a simple matter of safety for its residents.

“Basically, what we have is about 18 miles of road that are in deplorable condition,” Nudell said. “If you go and look at roads like Tibbits Wick, Mansell (Drive) or a dozen other roads, you will see that they are just deplorable.”

Officials said cuts in state funding, along with the elimination of the personal property and estate taxes have left the township with virtually no funding for resurfacing roads. Liberty has no road levy.

“With the new laws … in effect, they took those monies away,” Nudell said. “Now we don’t have money in the road or general fund to help pave roads.”

Nudell said that the unusually harsh winter forced township crews to “cold patch” some of the major potholes, but that the money spent on those temporary fixes saw little return.

“What people don’t realize is that we spent over $8,000 this winter on cold patches, which ended up doing no good,” Nudell said. “We temporarily filled those potholes, and now they’re back again. We can hot patch them this summer, but that’s not a cure-all. We need to repave these roads completely.”