Macomb Township approved contributing up to $250,000 for road reconstruction of the Chelsea Park Subdivision paving special assessment district. Chelsea Park Drive is seen here.

Macomb Township approved contributing up to $250,000 for road reconstruction of the Chelsea Park Subdivision paving special assessment district. Chelsea Park Drive is seen here.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

Macomb Township approves contribution for road reconstruction

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 9, 2021


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township residents living in a subdivision near 22 Mile Road heard some welcoming news after petitioning for improved roads.

At the Aug. 25 Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved the township’s contribution to the Chelsea Park Subdivision paving special assessment district, or SAD, for the road reconstruction of Chelsea Park Drive, Amsbury Drive and Newcastle Court up to $250,000. The roads are located south of 22 Mile Road, west of Heydenreich Road.

The one condition was that the township will have a policy prepared in the next 30 days to present to the board, governing future allocations.

Township Engineer Jim Van Tiflin said 82% of residents along the roads indicated in a petition that they are in favor of the road improvements. The current estimated project cost for these improvements is over $924,000. Macomb Township will submit an application to the Macomb County Department of Roads for a 50% match for their 2022 subdivision reconstruction program.

The remaining 50% or more would be at the cost of the homeowners through a SAD. The homeowner’s association asked the township to consider contributing 25%, up to $250,000, toward the SAD.

Supervisor Frank Viviano said these streets are unquestionably the worst roads in the township. He noted the township is working to set aside $250,000 each budget cycle, allowing residents to petition the township to fix some of the roads.

The township has applied to SEMCOG for grant funds to help pay for a pavement surface evaluation and rating, or PASER, study, which would be completed in 2022.

Clerk Kristi Pozzi said townships, unlike cities, don’t have the luxury of having state and federal funds directed to them to then decide what roads and subdivision roads are fixed.

The board also accepted the formal SAD petition for the project.

Additionally, the board approved engaging Utility Financial Solutions, of UFS, to update the township’s water and sewer department five-year financial projection and one-year rate design for $17,000. Trustee Frank Cusumano and Treasurer Leon Drolet voted no on that issue.

Gerry Wangelin, water and sewer superintendent, said the financial projection model will incorporate the projection of sales, operating expenses, capital improvements, a rate increase plan, the operating income targets and the projection of the annual cash balances for a five-year period.

Cusumano argued that the services should have been put out to bid.

“The amount charged previously for these services was $7,500, a 13% increase since May 2020,” he said.

Wangelin said he did not ask UFS for an explanation as to why their price increased.

In a letter to the board, Dawn Lund, vice president of UFS, outlined the steps in the work plan.

It includes eight steps like the determination of utility revenue requirements, determining the appropriate rate of return on utility assets and determining the appropriate cash balance reserves.

Viviano said one of the reasons it is so important to have someone with Lund’s knowledge and skill level to help the township with its rates is because there are legal consequences for indiscriminately making a mistake on when rates are charged.

He cited the situation in Shelby Township where residents challenged the water rates and the sewage disposal rates that are charged to residents by the township. Viviano said Shelby Township later engaged Lund and her company to help fix their problems.

The supervisor called it a very lengthy and complex process.

Wangelin said the next step in this process is to address water and sewer rates at the last board meeting in September.