by Elizabeth Wehman, editor
Plans are underway at Owosso City Council to update and inform the public regarding the upcoming 2016 Street and Sidewalk Improvement Bond which will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. The bond proposal will seek to borrow $10,000,000, payable and not to exceed 25 years from the date of issue for the purpose of paying the city’s costs of acquiring and constructing local and major street improvements. The bond would construct local and major street improvements consisting of paving, repaving, reconstructing and improving streets, sidewalks, and parking areas. The estimated millage to be levied in 2017 is 1.6697 mills (per $1,000 of taxable value).
The city of Owosso has many streets and sidewalks in need of replacement, resurfacing, or repair. The above bond will provide the money necessary to make these improvements. This bond is not a renewal, however, taxpayers have historically passed street bond issues since 1979. Each homeowner will see an increase of approximately $1.75 per $1,000 of estimated value of their house.
The city of Owosso has 72 miles of maintained streets, 25 miles of major streets, and 47 miles of local streets. Currently, Owosso spends approximately $200,000 each year repairing aging roads. The current allocation Owosso receives from the State of Michigan is not enough to complete the amount of work needed and that is why the city is seeking additional funding through a bond proposal.
The city has also requested that Owosso’s Standard and Poor’s bond rating be increased from A to AA which would allow the sale of bonds at a better (lower) interest rate. No response has been received yet.
During the meeting’s citizen comments and questions, the owner of Foster Coffee Company asked why Owosso businesses such as Foster were not alerted and given notice by the city regarding the Consumer Power Company’s recent work on Washington Street. He voiced concern over communication which had not come from the city to notify businesses. Mayor Ben Frederick said, “Foster Coffee Company’s comments hold great weight.” City Manager Don Crawford added, “Consumers has an open permit and can do anything they want.” City of Owosso officials were told that Consumers would notify the businesses, but the city will be contacting Consumers to find out how to better communicate upcoming work projects better in the future.