County board moves township millage prop forward

MARQUETTE – The Marquette County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the concept of allowing the county road commission to bond street reconstruction and repairs for Marquette Township, which is set to go before voters as a millage request in the November general election.

“It’s a great plan, very aggressive on the township’s part,” county Commissioner Deborah Pellow said.

The Marquette Township Board approved millage proposal language on Aug. 4.

“The purpose of the millage funds, if approved by township residents, is to repair, improve and maintain local roads within the township,” Marquette County Administrator Scott Erbisch said in a memo to the county board.

Erbisch said the township established a road committee to recommend a Comprehensive Repair and Improvement Plan throughout the township. The estimated cost is $7 million for road reconstruction, repairs and maintenance.

“We based our projection on a very conservative (community) growth model,” township planner Jason McCarthy said.

The proposal seeks 1.5 mills for 15 years, which would generate an estimated $352,793 the first year of collection. The township has .85 mills in place that will expire Dec. 31.

“Should the millage be approved, it is the intent of the township to seek a 15-year bond for the identified road improvements,” Erbisch wrote. “By bonding the road improvements, the township will be able to complete road reconstruction and repairs over a 3-year-period.”

If the millage proposals fails Nov. 4, the township will not seek bonding. If the millage does pass, the money generated will be used to repay the bond.

Erbisch said there are several ways the township can acquire bonds, including through the road commission, which is the township’s public works department.

“There is a formal process for proceeding, but before those steps are taken, the township and the road commission would like the conceptual approval of the county board,” Erbisch said.

Erbisch recommended the county board approve the idea.

Among the initial steps the township would take include submitting a resolution to the road commission seeking to bond through the agency, subsequent request by the road commission to the county board to move ahead and – if approved by the county board – the panel would draft a resolution of support for the bonding action.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.