Lathrup Village Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Kantor discusses a road bond proposal Aug. 24 during an open house meeting. The proposal will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Lathrup Village Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Kantor discusses a road bond proposal Aug. 24 during an open house meeting. The proposal will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Photo by Sean Work


Lathrup Village hosts meeting on road bond proposal

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published August 28, 2019

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LATHRUP VILLAGE — To help residents get informed before they head to the polls Nov. 5, Lathrup Village hosted an informational meeting Aug. 24 on a road bond proposal.

Voters will be asked whether they approve a $21.3 million bond that would be used to improve the city’s streets, drainage systems and culverts.

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

If approved, the city would issue a series of three 15-year bonds, each for $7.1 million. The bonds would be issued in 2020, 2022 and 2024. 

If the bond issue is approved, the city would levy 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 is set at 19 years.

One mill is equal to $1 per every $1,000 of a home’s taxable value. The average Lathrup Village home has a taxable value of $67,000. The annual cost to an average homeowner would be approximately $300 in the first year of the bond, with an average of $557 per year through the payback period.

Lathrup Village Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Kantor hosted the town hall meeting at City Hall.

“The purpose of the meeting was to educate and inform residents on why we have this road proposal and what it was going to do,” Kantor said.

Kantor said he and residents spent about two-thirds of the meeting discussing why the city does not have the funds to improve the roads.

“You’ve got aspects like the housing crash, which at one point lowered the city’s taxable value by $75 million, and our city revenue is based on that, and so our city revenue is down somewhere between 40% and 50%,” he said.

Kantor also attributed the road predicament to the loss of around $2 million in state-shared revenue, as well as the Headlee Amendment.

In a nutshell, Headlee requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage rate when annual growth on existing property values is greater than the rate of inflation, according to the Michigan Municipal League.

“So all of these things are working to give us less money, so we have a lot less money to spend, and because of that we’ve been spending it on city services and not on maintaining infrastructure,” Kantor said. “The roads are getting worse at a faster rate because as a city we can only pave about 0.4 miles of road per year — that’s all we can afford with the current money that we have.”

Lathrup Village has 24 miles of residential roads, Kantor said, and at the rate of paving 0.4 mile per year, it would take 53 years for all of the roads to be addressed.

“(The roads) have gotten to a point where the roads are in very bad condition, and if we don’t fix it, we have enough roads that are going to go from OK to really bad very soon,” Councilman Saleem Siddiqi said.

The last comprehensive residential road project in Lathrup Village took place 50 years ago, in 1969, officials said.

The roads were selected via the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system through the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. PASER uses visual inspections to evaluate pavement surface conditions and rates them as good, fair or poor.

The City Council unanimously approved the placement of the bond on the ballot at its July 22 meeting.

During the meeting, a resident asked why the city can’t just repair the worst-rated roads.

“I think one of the things that is important is that we tried to do this in a way that was equitable and benefited everybody, as opposed to maybe just doing the worst roads in the city,” Kantor said. “We have a high proportion of bad roads, so really a good portion of our roads need to be done. If we just did the worst of the worst, then you’re in a situation where it isn’t equitable for everybody because you’ve got people who are going to be paying a lower millage rate than what we’re proposing, but they get no benefit.”

Councilman Ian Ferguson said the proposal is long overdue.

“This is a really progressive ballot initiative, and we just leave it to the residents. It’s totally up to them,” Ferguson said. “It’s ambitious, but at the same time, it’s worth it.”

Another informational meeting on the proposal is slated for 7 p.m. Sept. 24 inside City Hall.

For more information or to see a list of roads slated for work, go to fixlvroads.com.

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