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September 14, 2011
HANDY TOWNSHIP ROADS
The voters of Handy Township residing outside of the Village of Fowlerville have approved 1 mil for maintenance of roads. At the current SEV of the Township 1 mil raises approximately $130,000. The money raised by the millage can only be spent on maintaining the roads and must be spent annually and not saved or used for other purposes. The first priority is dust control. Handy Township has approximately 48.5 miles of gravel (secondary) roads of which 6.5 miles are limestone. Four applications of brine are planned every year. The brine is applied within hours of grading the roads which is done by the Livingston County Road Commission. The success of the brine application is dependent on the weather conditions and the amount of rain. Very dry conditions leave no moisture in the atmosphere for the brine to attract leaving the roads dusty and too much rain can wash the brine from the roads. If all four applications are needed dust control costs approximately $75,000 per year.
The remainder of the millage is used to repair and maintain roads. In 2012 several projects were accomplished. Gregory Road south of Allen Road was rebuilt, Hogback Road south of Grand River was rebuilt and Van Buren Road was resurfaced and sealed from Fowlerville Road to Nicholson Road with tree removal. The cost was well above what the millage raised in 2012 but due to projects costing less than estimated in previous years it was possible.
In 2013 it is planned to remove many dead trees and to remove the berms on most roads to allow for drainage, pull the gravel from the shoulders back onto the roads and preserve the quality of roads. When berms are removed chunks of sod are often left that create difficulty driving and obstacles on lawns and driveways. The plan is to remove the chunks of sod to prevent the dirt from mixing with gravel that is pulled in from the shoulders of the roads. While nobody likes to have trees removed dead trees will be removed and some of the trees that currently interfere with drainage will also be removed. If drainage is not maintained roads will deteriorate rapidly.
Handy Township and the Livingston County Road Commission strive to maintain the roads in the safest and best possible condition. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
HANDY TOWNSHIP SPECIAL ASSESSMENT DISTRICT
In 2002 Handy Township was presented with a proposed manufactured home development consisting of approximately 500 units. The development was denied by the Planning Commission and the Township was sued by the developer. A consent judgment was entered into providing for the developer to reduce the number of units and other concessions and for the Township to provide waste water treatment services. Waste water treatment services were to be provided by a Township built plant to be financed through Livingston County issued bonds and secured by Special Assessments on the development. Other property owners joined the Special Assessment District. The waste water treatment plant was built to handle over 700 REUs with capacity to be phased in as needed. To date approximately 200 REUs are being utilized. Several properties are delinquent and scheduled for tax sale in 2013.
In 2003 Handy Township passed an Affordable Housing Ordinance (AFO) allowing denser development of homes on smaller lots. The location and number of the developments was to be controlled by availability of municipal services. Shortly after the enactment of the AFO the Lake Isabella Village court decision allowed developments that required community waste water treatment facilities to install private systems if municipal services were not available. The Department of Environmental Quality was responsible for permitting and not the Township. The Township rescinded the AFO in 2005.
To protect the public health and to provide capacity for the developments approved under the AFO the Township partnered with the Village of Fowlerville to construct a waste water treatment facility to be owned and operated by the Village in which the Township would have over 500 REU capacity. The Township portion of the project was financed by Livingston County issued bonds and secured by Special Assessments on the properties. To date just over 20 REUs are being utilized and the majority of assessments are delinquent and scheduled for tax sale in 2013.
Livingston County has refunded (refinanced) the bonds at a lower interest rate and extended the payment period on the 2005 bonds to lower the annual payments. Compounding the bond debt are the chargebacks to Livingston County’s revolving fund plus interest in the amount of $2,900,000 due at the beginning of 2014.
For the fiscal year 2011-2012 ending June 30, 2012 Handy Township collected approximately $950,000 in total operating revenues. Some of the revenue is restricted for specific use. For the same period Handy Township spent approximately $760,000. These figures DO NOT include the SAD collections and payments vary from year to year. The Township has been able to live within its income and has a modest fund equity. SAD bond payments for the next 10 years will average close to $570,000. Currently only $150,000 is being collected and the remainder is delinquent. This leaves a delinquency of approximately $420,000 per year. Coupled with the delinquencies on the bond payments there are the chargebacks due to the County of close to $3,000,000. Township fund equity and the amount saved annually will be totally exhausted when the chargebacks are due.
Dr. Henry M. Vaupel
Handy Township Supervisor
July 25, 2011
What is a Special Assessment District (S.A.D.)