Lapeer County voters asked to support 1.85-mill increase


LAPEER COUNTY — If you don’t like the condition of Lapeer County’s roads, you can vote to improve them on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

A 4-year, 1.85-mill tax proposal to provide funding to upgrade Lapeer County roads for a period of four years (2022-2025) will appear on the upcoming election ballot.

Per the approved ballot language, funds would be provided to the Lapeer County Road Commission and the county’s cities and villages to be used exclusively for the repair, maintenance and improvement of existing roads and bridges countywide.

If approved by voters, the millage would raise approximately $6.4 million in the first year and potentially more than $25 million over the full term of the millage.

Lapeer County Road Commission Director John Daly estimates that the annual cost to property owners would be about $277, based on a taxable value of $150,000.

If the ballot measure passes, Daly estimated allocations of $1 million to Lapeer County cities and villages; $3.7 million to townships; and $1.6 million to the Lapeer County Road Commission.

In an informational brochure being distributed by the Lapeer County Road Commission, county residents are reminded that the road commission itself has no power to impose a tax.

The cost of roads

Daly said the bulk of road improvement revenue comes from vehicle registration taxes, gasoline taxes, and diesel fuel/motor carrier taxes.

When there is a budget shortfall, however, the cost of improving roads can become the responsibility of local government entities.

Daly noted that only 34.6% of the county’s roads are rated to be in ‘good’ condition, while 35.6% are rated as ‘fair’ and the remaining 29.8% are rated to be in ‘poor’ condition, which leaves the county and its residents in a financial quandary.

“Currently, the cities, villages and the county road commission are stretching the road dollars to get the biggest bang for the buck, but it isn’t enough,” Daly said. “Establishing a road millage will provide additional funding to elevate road conditions into the ‘good’ and ‘fair’ categories and decrease the percentage of roads in the ‘poor’ categories.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.