2013-01-20 / Front Page

Village looks for way to fund street repairs


CHESANING – The Chesaning Village Council is acutely aware that the village’s street are in bad need of repair. Previous village councils had not set aside money for street repairs.

For several years, the village has been under a DEQ Administrative Consent Order (ACO) to eliminate stormwater in the sanitary sewer. That’s kept the lion’s share of village infrastructure improvement funds tied up.

During the Jan. 15 council meeting, council members discussed the need for street repairs; and how to fund them.

Councilman Damion Frasier said, “You’ve got to bite the bullet sometime.” He talked about the assessments in some neighborhoods, while main roads and roads with schools or churches would require a millage.

Councilman Bill Boyd pointed out that the village is still under the limit for the amount of millage it can levy by resolution.

Frasier commented, “I think any discretionary funds should be allocated to roads.”

DPW Director Dennis Sizemore responded, “I know that used to happen.”

“We can’t fix roads from money we get from the state,” Fraiser added.

They discussed how much revenue the village could take in from adding one mill. The council members tossed around estimated numbers of decades past. “$100,000 for one mill,” someone guessed. But times have changed, Sizemore was fairly certain that a one mill increase now would only bring in about $50,000 or less.

Village President Joe Sedlar, Jr. said, “We need to decide if curbs are required.” He explained that on one hand, adding curb and gutter increases the cost of street repairs substantially. On the other hand, the streets that don’t have curb and gutter deteriorate faster.

Fraser said, “The longer we delay; we should start collecting now, otherwise we’ll never have the money.”

Boyd asked, “But by taxing?”

Councilman Don Swartzmiller suggested they start by looking at how different areas of the sewer system were evaluated; particularly areas where the sewer doesn’t require work. “Start out on some easier areas, then expand,” he said.

Sedlar responded, “I think if the community saw us doing something, maybe we could collect a little more in revenues. My road will be the last one fixed.”

“Liberty going east, it’s a mess,” Sedlar stated.

Swartzmiller recalled, “We had six-seven water breaks on Liberty since...”

“1994,” Sizemore interjected.

Swartzmiller said, “If we get the ACO taken care of with minimal cost; then maybe we could split money between the sewer and the roads.”

Frasier said, “I think we need to get to a point this year when we can raise money; perhaps through special assessments.”

Swartzmiller asked, “Do we want to start in the downtown area or in a neighborhood? In front of the Malt Shop is bad.” He added, “We’ve got to start something. I’d say 70-80 percent have to be reconstructed.” Other council members agreed.

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