Group to Study Countywide Road Funding

Washtenaw County commissioners gave final approval to create a new committee that will explore funding options for countywide road repair. The action took place at the board’s June 4, 2014 meeting on a 6-1 vote, over dissent from Conan Smith (D-District 9). Commissioners Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8) and Dan Smith (R-District 2) were absent.

Commissioners had given initial approval to the idea at their May 21, 2014 meeting, after rejecting a proposal to levy a 0.4-mill countywide road tax in December. The tax would have been levied under Act 283 of 1909, which does not require voter approval.

In arguing against levying the tax at this time, some commissioners cited the need to study funding options – including a possible Act 283 levy – before making a decision. The committee will consist of seven members: (1) a road commissioner or designee; (2) the road commission managing director or designee; (3) the county board’s road commission liaison; (4) one additional county commissioner; (5) a position representing townships; (6) a position representing incorporated municipalities; and (7) a member of the general public. Members will be appointed at a later date.

The county administrator will help provide administrative support to the committee. The resolution also states that the county road commission could present a road funding plan at the board’s annual meeting in the fall “as Act 283 of 1909 provides.”

For additional Chronicle coverage on road-related issues, see: “County Board Continues Weighing Road Tax,” “County Board Debates Expanded Road Commission,” “County Board Sets Hearing on Road Tax,” “County Considers Road Funding Options,” “No Major Change Likely for Road Commission” and “Group Explores Road Commission’s Future.”

This brief was filed from the boardroom at the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]