By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
Denny Way of the Charlevoix County Road Millage Steering Committee presented the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners with his group’s recommendation for the next roads to be repaired using county road millage funds.
Way addressed the board during its regular Wednesday Feb. 13 meeting to give them an update on the roadwork planned for this summer that will be paid for by the fourth year of collections of the 15-year Charlevoix County Road Millage.
“We had a meeting last week and I’m just here to update you,” Way said. “Basically we first discussed the projects for 2012 this last summer which was obviously the Boyne City-Charlevoix Road. It was done very satisfactorily, both jobs came in well under budget and we’re happy with that.”
Way said public input has been positive on the project.
“We then moved to 2013, this summer, and funding and projects we would like to see accomplished,” he said. “We had a few different roads that we discussed early on in our meetings we prioritized some of the roads on the list … and the next ones we would like to see done are Slashing Road and Chandler Hill road.”
Both roads are scheduled for wedge and overlay.
Charlevoix County Board Chairman Joel Evans asked how the roads are prioritized.
“There were a number of things that came into play when we started this,” Way said. “We literally drove every road that was on the list and looked at things like traffic, the condition, where it would be even in eight or 10 years as long as this funding was going to go on.”
Way said the roads were then coded in priority.
“This year we’re going to have a million-and-a-half (dollars) and we would like to set aside half of that for Kings Highway on Beaver Island,” Way said. “Kings Highway is going to be a $1.5 to $2 million project and we wanted to coordinate that with township work that was going to be done on the island at the same time.”
In 2014 there will be an airport and other road projects undertaken.
Evans said he gets numerous complaints about C-48, which stretches from Ellsworth through East Jordan and ends in Boyne Falls.
“C-48 is going to be a pricier road—a much pricier road,” Way said. “We sit in this meeting and we struggle because all these roads need to be fixed, they’re all a priority.”
Way said by holding back a portion of this year’s funds to work on Kings Highway in 2014, there will be just enough funding left over to work on the combined 3.89 miles of Slashing and Chandler Hill roads.
“We’re combining those because of their proximity,” Way said.
Complete reconstruction of approximately three miles of C-48 has been estimated at $1.3 million or $1.4 million, which would require a whole year’s worth of millage money.
“This project was sold to the public knowing it would take an amount of time … and I think everyone knew we couldn’t do everything at once,” Way said. “We struggle a lot on what needs to be done but we’ve gotten a lot of bang for our buck from this millage. Almost every job has come in under budget and on schedule.”
Charlevoix County Commissioner Larry Sullivan (R-District 6) said he foresees, once this millage expires, that there might be a desire to renew it. But, he said he would like to see a report on what the priority roads are and what the obligations and commitments are.
“I think it would make the path much easier in the future if there is desire to go ahead with another millage,” Sullivan said.
Charlevoix County Commissioner Rich Gillespie (R-District 5) agreed that the report should be updated and recirculated.