Fraser residents vote 'no' on streets bond

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published August 8, 2023

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FRASER — Fraser residents went to the polls on Aug. 8 and decided not to pass a bond measure that would have allowed the city to levy a millage collection to improve local roads.

The measure was voted down with 1,339 voters selecting “no” and 836 voters selecting “yes.” This was a margin of 61.6% to 38.4% of 2,185 residents who voted on the issue.

The bond would have allowed the city to borrow a sum not to exceed $15 million. It would have been levied to pay specifically for this bond, to be paid back within 12 years. The millage was estimated to be levied at 1.3058 mills, which is just under $1.31 per every $1,000 of taxable property value.

According to the language on the ballot, the bond was to be used 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 people have spoken and we will abide by their decision,” Fraser Mayor Michael Carnegie said in an email. “I believe we should have educated the voters more on the importance of having good roads and updated infrastructure. It’s something that future councils can bring forward to the people again.”

He added that while he understands how difficult additional taxes can be, this will seriously hamper the city’s ability to address road issues in Fraser.

“The sad part of the bond not passing is the continuous flow of bond monies (would have been) able to have a substantial road repair plan that would expand for years and years,” said Carnegie. “Now we will have to put large road projects on hold and hopefully complete smaller road projects with the very limited money we get from the state and federal government. I mean very limited. I do understand that families are having a more difficult time financially, and we all pay our taxes, but with the average household now paying $900 more per month, it is hard to ask for more money from our people. That is why we took it to the people to decide.”

The streets that would have been worked on would have been determined by the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system, which judges the conditions of roads. 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.

Of note in the election, 1,650 of the total 2,185 votes cast were done via absentee ballot. The bond measure was the only item on the Aug. 8 ballot for Fraser residents.