Fraser residents can vote on a proposed bond measure on Tuesday, Aug. 8 that would provide money for road improvements in the city.

Fraser residents can vote on a proposed bond measure on Tuesday, Aug. 8 that would provide money for road improvements in the city.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Fraser residents to vote on road bond on Aug. 8

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published July 24, 2023


FRASER — On Tuesday, Aug. 8, Fraser residents will get to decide whether to approve a new bond measure dedicated to fixing the city’s local roads.

The bond would allow the city to borrow a sum not to exceed $15 million. A millage would be levied to pay for this bond, to be paid back within 12 years.

“It would be an additional millage on their tax bill,” said Fraser City Manager Elaine Leven. “One of the big things this will let us do is to bond out for a big lump of money at a single point in time so we will no longer have to defer repairs. We will be able to make more repairs in a shorter time frame.”

The millage is estimated to be levied at 1.3058 mills, which is just under $1.31 per every $1,000 of taxable property.

“We’re going to let voters in Fraser decide what kind of city they want to live in,” said Fraser Mayor Michael Carnegie. “With the latest updated roads, it would be of value to their homes and the city itself. It’s better for safety and to everyone’s advantage. If they vote yes, we will start the process.

“If it doesn’t pass, we will continue to fix what we can, which isn’t much every year,” Carnegie said.

According to the language on the ballot, the bond would be usable for the “cost of acquiring and constructing street improvements throughout the city, consisting of paving, repaving, reconstructing and improving streets, including all necessary appurtenances and attachments.”

The city receives $1.5 million each year for its roads from the state of Michigan. Fraser officials say that $1.2 million is needed for standard operating costs, leaving only $300,000 to perform road projects. Estimated costs for a full reconstruction of a road, including sidewalks, driveways, and curbs, is $1.5 million per lane-mile.

“It’s a road bond millage, and it is something that will be asked of the entire electorate in the city,” explained Leven. “What we are asking for is to fund road repairs, maintenance, and sidewalk work because the funding we currently get from the state is so insufficient that it would take us years to do the necessary repairs.”

Road conditions have been a talking point for both residents and city officials for several years within Fraser. Carnegie said this would be a good starting point for addressing a big issue in the community.

“To fix all the roads that need to be fixed in Fraser, the price would be about $91 million. This is just a little bit of what we need to do. It’s a good start and hopefully we will be able to devote more money for the roads,” he said. “It’s going to affect everybody. They are everybody’s roads.”

The projects that would be addressed using these proposed funds would be determined based on which roads are in the most need of work. This would be determined according to the long-established PASER system, which stands for “Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating.”

“It’s all based on the PASER rating, so it won’t be based on favoritism or any roads being special,” Carnegie said. “It would be based on what road needs it based on its rating.”

“There’s nothing determined now in terms of what projects this would go toward,” added Leven. “It will all be based on the condition of the roads and everything we are seeing in our most recent data.”

The city of Fraser’s website states that 8% of the city’s roads are currently rated as being in good condition, 43% are rated in fair condition, and 49% are rated in poor condition.

The money could potentially benefit the proposed repairs to streets in the Fraser Industrial Park. The cost of that work would be paid for by a special tax assessment on the local businesses there, which has been a recent point of contention among some in Fraser.

“It could potentially benefit the industrial park road work we have been discussing,” said Leven. “We are looking at the industrial park as a special assessment district to handle those roads in particular.”

There is no timeline set yet for the work, since the individual projects that would be scheduled can only be decided after the bond measure has been approved.

“It typically would take a couple of months to go through the bonding process, so after that we could start working on developing a plan to determine what roads we would tackle first  and put together estimates,” Leven said.

She added that the city was not eager to place a millage proposal on the ballot since it takes the tax rate very seriously, but she said that it was a step city administration thought would be necessary if any meaningful progress is to be made to repair the local roads.

“It’s a difficult decision for everyone to make,” she said. “It’s not something anyone is excited about doing, but it’s one of those things that is a necessary cost.”

For more information about the bond measure, go to the city’s website at To reach the Fraser Department of Public Works, call (586) 293-2001 and select option three.