From the left, Troy City Engineer Bill Huotari, Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep, City Manager Mark Miller and project manager Ashely Levin stand at the start of the new trail last August.

From the left, Troy City Engineer Bill Huotari, Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep, City Manager Mark Miller and project manager Ashely Levin stand at the start of the new trail last August.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Shuttle stops, new pro shop’s a go under approved Troy budget

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 22, 2019

 The 1.3-mile asphalt path goes behind Zion Church, Walsh College and Oakland County Water Resources Commission property, and ends up at a mid-block crossing at Wattles Road.

The 1.3-mile asphalt path goes behind Zion Church, Walsh College and Oakland County Water Resources Commission property, and ends up at a mid-block crossing at Wattles Road.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 The trail ends on Wattles Road, across Livernois Road from the Troy Historic Village — $750,000 is earmarked for the trails and pathways system in the 2019-20 budget.

The trail ends on Wattles Road, across Livernois Road from the Troy Historic Village — $750,000 is earmarked for the trails and pathways system in the 2019-20 budget.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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TROY — The Troy City Council approved the $168.7 million city budget, which reflects a 10.24 millage rate, slight increases to water and sewer rates, funding for renovations to the Niles Barnard House and a new pro shop at Sylvan Glen Golf Course.

The Big Beaver Road shuttle will come to a permanent stop June 30. The council will not fund it after that, instead redirecting its $230,000 annual cost to Medi-Go, which provides transportation for seniors and those with disabilities to medical appointments, under the new budget.

After a May 6 public hearing at which nobody spoke, the council voted 6-1 to approve the proposed 2019-20 and three-year budgets.

Mayor Dane Slater voted against approval. He thanked the staff for the hard work they did with the funds they were given.

“I”ve struggled whether to vote for the budget or not,” Slater said. “I still struggle. I cannot vote for this.”

Slater told C & G Newspapers his vote had nothing to do with the city administration. At issue, he said, is funding for the library beyond 2021 — when the current 0.7-mill voter-approved tax expires — as well as the cut in funding for the trails and pathways program.

He noted that one of the city’s strategies, which the council approved, is to “convene the Charter Revision Committee to evaluate charter language and millage limitations and develop a strategy to fund the library after 2021.”

Slater said this was discussed during the budget study sessions, but a consensus to move forward with it was not achieved. He added that the Headlee Amendment will impact the library millage.

The Headlee Amendment mandates that taxable values can only increase by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less.

“We can’t just kick the can down the road,” Slater said. “I think it needs to be addressed.”

Slater said the charter amendment that Troy voters approved in 2008, which states that any tax increase would have to be put to a vote of the people, “is hurting us.”

“We need to look for a permanent solution so we don’t have to worry every three years,” Slater said, referring to the library millage.

 

Trails and pathways
In the approved budget, $750,000 is earmarked for the trails and pathways program for 2019-20, $25,000 for 2020-21 and $200,000 for 2021-22.

“We’re taking a step backwards,” Slater said. “Residents have always made it (trails and pathways) a top priority. We’re not doing what we should be doing.”

The most recent plan was charted to extend the trail north of Wattles Road through a neighborhood using city rights of way where some walkways currently exist and through Troy School District property, ending at Belzair Drive and Long Lake Road.

Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep told the council at a Dec. 21, 2018, meeting that the residents who attended engagement sessions in December said that while they use phase one of the trail, they don’t want it extended in front of their homes.

The first phase is a 1.3-mile asphalt path that travels behind Zion Church, Walsh College and Oakland County Water Resources Commission properties.

Bovensiep told the council in December that they were still looking at going through natural areas, but not through neighborhoods.

Plans for a nonmotorized pathway through the city stalled in 2015 when the state withdrew a $600,000 grant for a proposed trail and pathway system after residents in the Hills of Charnwood subdivision, located west of Coolidge Highway and north of Square Lake Road, objected to the pathway going through their subdivision.

During citizen engagement forums held in 2015, residents of the Hills of Charnwood said they and other residents opposed designated bike lanes being marked on streets in their subdivision.

Concerns included fears of a drop in property values and an increase in crime.

The city then revised plans for the trail and moved forward without the grant funding.

 

Upgrades and new construction
The approved budget includes $700,000 for the Niles Barnard House, which falls short of the $1.2 million initial bid for a wider scope of renovation work.

The new scope of work includes an entrance accessible to those with disabilities, two new restrooms, refurbished existing walls and floors on the first floor, updates to the electrical system, and the closing off of the second floor.

According to a $123,000 facilities assessment that Integrated Design Solutions completed on 56 city-owned buildings, the pro shop at Sylvan Glen Golf Course is in need of new awnings and siding; upgraded windows and carpet; and a new bathroom, at a cost of $230,000.

The estimated cost to build a new 1,200-square-foot pro shop is $300,000, the amount the council included in the 2019-20 budget.

City Manager Mark Miller explained that the millage rate reflects a slight drop from the current rate of 10.29 mills and includes a reduction from the Headlee Amendment of 0.0484 mill.

The approved budget reflects a slight increase to water and sewer rates, based on cost increases to the city from the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Oakland County Water Resources Commission. Bovensiep told the council this will equate to an increase of $7.80 per billing cycle for most homeowners.

Visit troymi.gov to see the city budget. It will also be available at the Troy City Clerk’s Office and at the Troy Public Library.

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