SUMMIT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — When voters go to the polls next week for the August election, they’ll vote on candidates but also issues that impact their communities.
Drive through any neighborhood in Jackson County’s Summit Township and you’re likely to find streets with patches, potholes and loose pieces of pavement.
It’s a big problem that officials say can be solved by a millage.
Over the past 20 years, Mary Genix has seen 23rd Street go from bad to worse with potholes, uneven surfaces and crushed pavement.
“I pay taxes just like everyone else, and I should have my road just as nice as everybody else’s,” Genix said.
A plan to fix all of Summit Township’s neighborhood streets is awaiting a decision by voters in the August 8 election.
“85 percent of the local streets in Summit Township are rated in poor condition,” said John Griffin, lead volunteer for Fix Summit Roads, a committee that’s advocating for the millage.
Griffin says some streets have been deteriorating for decades because of a lack of state funds and no township road department to make regular repairs.
Overall, it’s a $31 million project.
Jackson County has dedicated $9.3 million, but $22.5 million will have to be raised through taxes over 16 years.
“If you’re taxable value is $100,000, it would be $283 a year,” Griffin said.
He realizes that’s a lot of money for some families in the township, but says something has to be done.
“It’s a good investment. I think home values will increase. The neighborhoods will be more attractive. Look at this street here, the entrance to this neighborhood, what does that say to someone new driving down the street? It makes it look like, boy, this is a rundown neighborhood,” Griffin said.
While some are against the millage and want the repairs to come from the township budget, others are willing to pay more for a smoother ride.
“If I’m going to get something for my taxes, I’m all for spending however much they want us to. But we got to see some results,” Genix said.
If the millage passes, Griffin expects work to start sometime in the fall and should wrap up in three years.
Voters in neighboring Spring Arbor Township passed a similar road millage in May, approving an $11.7 million proposal with 62.3 percent of voters approving it.
If you’d like to learn more about the millage, there’s an informational meeting happening at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Vandercook Lake High School, 1000 E. Golf Avenue.