Road millage passes by large margin in Park

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 7, 2018

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PARK — The roadwork plan will continue in Grosse Pointe Park.

Park voters overwhelmingly said yes to a continuation, of sorts, of the city’s dedicated road millage; the approved millage is technically considered new and is less costly, but it’s carrying on with work started under the current road millage.

According to unofficial vote tallies available at press time, on Nov. 6, Park residents voted 4,549 to 1,883 — or almost 71 percent to just over 29 percent — in favor of a maximum levy of 1 mill for 10 years starting Dec. 1, 2019, for road repairs, after the current five-year levy of 1.75 mills has expired.

A change in language for this millage from the previous one will enable the city to use funding for major streets along with local streets, as well as alleys, curb work and other related road and paving projects.

Mayor Robert Denner was pleased with the election outcome.

“I greatly appreciate the confidence our voters have shown in the Grosse Pointe Park administration to approve the continuing support for paving our roads and related infrastructure,” Denner said by email. “This will enable the city to complete paving of all residential — (a.k.a.) local — streets and begin the repaving of cross  — (a.k.a.) major — streets, (city-owned) parking lots and alleys. It will ensure that our driving infrastructure is consistent with the high standards of our community, supporting the very positive momentum in our residential and commercial neighborhoods.”

This summer, City Manager Dale Krajniak said the Park has an estimated 25 miles of local streets and another 11.69 miles of major streets. The 1.75-mill levy from 2014 has generated about $980,000 annually, he said. Combined with some additional city funding, Krajniak said the Park will have spent $5.9 million on roadwork over the last five years by the end of the existing millage on Dec. 1, 2018.

Some officials wondered whether 1 mill would be enough to address remaining road needs, but Krajniak said they feel confident this amount will be adequate, even though major streets such as Vernor Highway, Charlevoix Street and Kercheval Avenue are among those needing repairs.

“We can expect asphalt prices to continue to rise, but we expect our housing values to (also) continue to rise,” Krajniak said.

In addition, he said many of the city’s streets still have four to five years of life left in them.

A 1-mill levy would generate roughly $580,000 to $600,000 per year, Krajniak said.

He recommended a 10-year millage instead of one for 15 years because “we’re going to have to reassess our needs” after 10 years. In addition, he said a bond for sewer separation would be coming off the tax rolls at the same time as the new road millage that voters approved Nov. 6.

During a July City Council meeting, City Councilman Daniel Clark agreed with that assessment.

“Road repair is hard to predict,” Clark said, noting that it’s based on traffic, the condition of the roadbed and a host of other factors. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen 15 years out.”