Lathrup Village to place revised road bond proposal on November ballot

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published August 11, 2020

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LATHRUP VILLAGE — After an original bond proposal to fix the city’s streets was struck down last year, city officials went back to the drawing board.

At a July 27 meeting, held via teleconference, the Lathrup Village City Council voted 4-0 to place a revised road bond proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. Councilwoman Donna Stallings was not at the meeting.

According to a previous report, voters in Lathrup denied a $21.3 million bond during the November 2019 election that would have been used to improve the city’s streets, drainage systems and culverts.

The results showed that 1,378 — 65.89% — of voters said no, while 470 voters, or 34.11%, said yes.

According to the ballot language, the money would have been used to pave, repave, resurface, reconstruct and improve streets, including drainage, culverts and other related improvements.

If it had been approved, the city would have issued a series of three 15-year bonds.

The city would have levied 4.48 mills in the first year of the bond, with an average millage rate over the payback period of all three bonds of 8.31 mills. The payback period of the bond was set at 19 years.

The annual cost to an average homeowner would have been approximately $300 in the first year of the bond, with an average of $557 per year through the payback period.

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Kantor said that after the original proposal was struck down, the council’s Infrastructure Committee reviewed feedback from residents to form a new plan.

“The residents were pretty clear that they felt that that proposal was a little too aggressive and too costly, so the Infrastructure Committee took our lessons from that election, looked at all the feedback and spent a lot of time talking about the feedback, and then held probably a dozen meetings close to the election,” Kantor said. “Most of them were very well attended. We had a lot of resident input. The residents helped shape the proposal I’m about to describe.”

The new proposal, according to council meeting minutes, is a $5.8 million bond. Under this bond, 7.1 miles of roads would be repaired, to be repaid over a 10-year period at a rate of 3.9 mills.

The cost to the average homeowner, with a taxable value of $67,000, would be $262 each year over the life of the bond. If the proposal passes, work will begin in the spring of 2021.

“Everything was substantially scaled back and reduced relative to what we proposed last November,” Kantor said. “The 7.1 miles and the $5.8 million — how we came up with that — is looking at the different categories of asphalt roads that needed to be repaired in the city.”

Kantor said there are about 3.9 miles of asphalt roads in the city that require full reconstruction. Under the new bond, if approved, 60% of those roads would be repaired.

In addition to that, there is 1 mile of roadway that requires reconstruction, but not a full reconstruction. Under the new bond, 50% of that road would be repaired.

“In the rehab category, that’s where we can skim off the top 3 inches of asphalt and put new down, we have 4.4 miles in that category, so, again, we strove to do about 70%-75% of that roadway, so that worked out to be about 3.7 miles,” Kantor said.

Last year’s proposal also asked to pave all of the dirt roads in the city, which is about 1.7 miles. The new plan calls for repairs to about 0.2 mile of unpaved roads, Kantor said.

Kantor said he wanted to point out that this year’s plan only addresses asphalt roads, not concrete, as those are more expensive to repair.

“If this goes successfully and is well received by the residents, we can come back and try to do a second project to address roads that were left behind in this particular go around,” Kantor said.

Mayor Kelly Garrett pointed out that during the meeting, the council only voted to place the proposal on the ballot; residents can take it from there.

“It’s up to the residents on whether or not they want to vote yay or nay on it,” she said. “Same thing as before. We are simply approving it to go on the ballot in November.”

Councilman Ian Ferguson concurred.

“For the residents, we have given you back your government. You have a choice to make a decision on your roads again, and it is up to you,” Ferguson said.  “It is not up to us. All we did was we got the committee together and they brainstormed and they came back with a recommendation.”

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