The pavement on Murray Rd. has large cracks and the shoulders have crumbled over the years because of a deficient base underneath.
Fruitland Township is moving ahead on a plan to establish a Special Assessment District (SAD) which could require property owners on Murray Road contribute to a 1.63 mile road resurfacing project this summer.
The Fruitland Township Board agreed to begin the process by scheduling a public hearing on the SAD on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 5 p.m., at the township hall.
Township Supervisor Sam St. Amour said the Special Assessment District formation process has been started after a straw vote by the Citizens Advisory Committee and believes it has 86 votes favoring establishment of the SAD out of a total 169 total votes.
St. Amour said the SAD needs more than 50 percent yes votes to go into effect.
The SAD, if established, would raise an estimated $110,000 in funding for the $550,000 project which would repave, widen in portions and provide drainage for Murray Road. That would equate to an approximate $700 level per parcel on Murray Road.
The township supervisor said Fruitland has resurfaced 44 miles of roads in the past three years in cooperative efforts with the Muskegon County Road Commission (MCRC) and neighboring townships.
In the cooperative funding effort with the road commission the township would pay 60 percent of the project and the road commission would pick up the remaining 40 percent. Using that formula, St. Amour said the township was able to repave the 44 miles of roads with $980,000 in township funds.
However, Murray Road is a different story. Because of the additional work on the road base and drainage, and a higher grade of asphalt, the supervisor said it becomes an expensive project at $550,000. And because that road does not meet the county’s asset management profile, the road commission is only willing to match 20 percent, or $110,000. That leaves a $110,000 shortfall which the township is hoping the Special Assessment District will cover.
St. Amour said Murray Road doesn’t meet the county’s asset management profile because it is a dead end road (at the White Lake Channel), and many of the residences on that stretch are seasonal.
St. Amour said Murray Road is important to the township because it provides access to the township-owned White River Light Station and Maritime Museum and fishing access at the channel, and a Lake Michigan beach for sunbathing and swimming.
And, he said the residents of Murray Road deserve a smooth road surface like other roads in the township.
At the public hearing in which township property owners and residents can comment on the SAD, the township board.
St. Amour said the township board will not take action that night, but at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 19, he expects the board to take action on whether to distribute petition packets to the 169 taxable parcels in the district area. Each parcel gets a vote. A yes vote on the petition would support establishment of the SAD. If a petition is not returned it will be considered a no vote.
That action by the board would also trigger a new cost estimate by the road commission. The current estimate was done last November.
St. Amour said the levy by the SAD for the paving project would be a “one-time deal,” and could not be used to fund future projects on the road.
The supervisor said the funding for the project must be in place by April 1 in order to get on the road commission schedule for work in 2013.