Troy City Council virtually approves $179.9M city budget

Roadwork, trails included in project list

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 23, 2020

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TROY — Although the approved 2020-21 and three-year Troy city budgets did not fully take into account the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, the council unanimously adopted the $179.9 million budget at a May 11 virtual meeting.

The budget features $1.1 million earmarked for a new roof and other improvements at the Troy Community Center; $2 million for continued development of Troy parks, trails and pathways; and $9.7 million for major and local streets.

This is down from previous years, due to construction of Interstate 75. In the 2018-19 city budget, $76.94 million was earmarked for major road improvements, with $3.7 million slated for local roads.

“We’re trying to stay off local roads until the mega project, I-75, is complete,” said William Huotari, the city’s engineer.

The second phase of the I-75 modernization project will reconstruct 8 miles of pavement and 18 structures, upgrade drainage, and improve aesthetics. It will feature federally approved noise walls and a high-occupancy vehicle lane between Coolidge Highway and 13 Mile Road.

Final pavement markings for the 8-mile segment through Troy will be finished in 2021.

The approved city budget also includes an additional five full-time city employees — a school resource officer and a lieutenant in the Troy Police Department, a full-time recreation supervisor, a marketing coordinator and an additional city planner.

The approved city budget reflects $1,268 in city taxes for the average Troy homeowner — a home with a taxable value of $126,767 — a decrease of about $6 from last year due to the mandatory Headlee rollback and reduction in the city debt millage levy.

The city millage rate is 9.99 mills, a reduction from last year’s rate of 10.24 mills. This does not include the library millage, up for consideration by voters in November, or a refuse millage of 1.09 mills.

The Headlee Amendment requires local governments to reduce their millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation.

Water/sewer rates will increase 2.8%, an increase of $7.41 per quarter for the average residential customer.

Road projects include:

• Square Lake Road, from Adams Road to Coolidge Highway and Coolidge Highway to Crooks Road, will be milled, then topped with asphalt for $1.9 million. Work is scheduled to start next year.

• A new traffic signal will be installed at Maple Road and Coolidge Highway. The city’s share is $200,000. The new traffic signal will be funded using a cost share agreement with Birmingham, the Road Commission for Oakland County and Troy.

• Adams Road, from Long Lake to Square Lake roads, will be milled and capped with asphalt, using a cost share of 80% federal funds. The local match will be split between Troy and the Road Commission.

• Design work for Rochester Road to be widened and reconstructed from Barclay Road to Trinway Road will cost $200,000.

• Northfield Parkway, considered under industrial roadways maintenance, will be completed at a city cost of $1 million in the 2020-21 budget.

• Continuation of work to widen and reconstruct John R Road, from Long Lake to South Boulevard, costs a budgeted $1.5 million.

• $3.5 million is slated for concrete slab replacement and asphalt pavement overlays for local roads.


Trails and pathways
Of the stipend for continued development of Troy parks, trails and pathways, $750,000 is slated for the trail system, $500,000 for demolition and reconstruction of a new parking lot next to the skate park, and $275,000 for tennis court resurfacing at Boulan Park.

Kurt Bovensiep, the public works director for the city of Troy, explained, via email, that the $750,000 budgeted amount will be used to construct the path through Sylvan Glen Lake Park.

“Our design contractor, AEW, has completed the design, and we are waiting on permits through the state of Michigan because we go through some wetlands,” he said.

The first part of the trail is a 1.3-mile asphalt path that goes behind Zion Church, Walsh College, and Oakland County Water Resources Commission property and ends up at a mid-block crossing at Wattles Road, then continues north to the Troy Historic Village.

“We did not have the necessary property or rights-of-way to connect the two with an officially designated trail. Our intent now is to create trails highlighting the natural features of the city. Pedestrians will naturally link these trails through our already well maintained 514 miles of sidewalks,” Bovensiep added.

Troy City Manager Mark Miller said that the impact of COVID on the city budget “isn’t dramatic, and very manageable.” He explained that while there are fewer fees, there were fewer expenditures, and most of the funds come from property taxes.

Miller praised the city’s information technology department, which allowed city employees working remotely during the budget process to access the files they needed after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.

With regard to the electronic meetings, Miller said that although they did receive a lot of questions in advance of the meetings, which were addressed, “there was not as much discussion. It just doesn’t seem as open as a public meeting.”

“The budget we passed represents our city’s priorities and includes funds for additional park and green space improvements, as well as a focus on resident needs with increased hiring,” said Mayor Ethan Baker, via email. “Certainly, we will be closely monitoring the economic impact of COVID-19 and are fully prepared to make budget amendments if and when necessary. We passed this budget unanimously and through an electronic meeting, which was unprecedented. We allowed ample opportunity for public comment either via voicemail or email and look forward to continued public response and engagement.”