Submitted by Owosso Councilman Burton Fox

 

Why is the city of Owosso asking for the citizens to approve a street bond?

The city has 77 miles of maintained streets, of which 25 miles are classified as major streets and 47 miles are classified as local streets. Local streets are those streets that have less traffic and are entries into the major streets, which have more traffic and normally are used as a main route to get from point to point.

As you drive around the city, you will note that some streets are in better condition than others. There are many reasons for this, but in recent years the state of Michigan has provided funding for some major streets as they were used by the state for detour routes, while M-21, Main St., were being reconstructed. The detours allowed heavy trucks access to these streets, causing undue stress on the streets as well as early deterioration, which the state has and is currently compensating for it. East Oliver St. from Washington to Gould will be reconstructed under this plan in the next two years.

Unfortunately, the funding from the state for other streets has not been sufficient to do all the maintenance that is needed. The city has been attempting to maintain the street as best they can, but with limited funding. Yet, it has been impossible to accomplish what must be done and the condition of the streets continue to fall into disrepair.

By approving the bond, the citizens are showing their concern and expectation to see improvement in the condition of the streets throughout the city. It then becomes the responsibility of the council to see that a program is carried out to accomplish what the citizen taxpayers are expecting. This is not an easy task, but by working together it can and must be accomplished.

In 2011, 62 percent of the streets were considered as being bad. In 2015, 86 percent were considered as being in bad condition. It is evident if we don’t realize an increase in funding, it won’t be long before all the streets will be considered as being in bad condition.

So how do we remedy the situation? Four years ago, a street bond proposal was on the ballot and it was defeated by a very narrow margin, most likely because trails were included in the proposal. Then two years ago, a proposal for a three year, 1.9 mil increase in taxes for the sole purpose of repairing streets was defeated. That proposal was an effort to improve streets without paying interest, which meant all the money would actually go to street improvement. Now, there is no other option, but to seek approval of the citizens of the bond proposal on the ballot next week.

I ask you, can we expect better streets without providing funding for it? I personally don’t like to pay additional taxes, but I also don’t like to pay expensive car repairs caused by potholes and poor streets. Therefore, I have chosen to put my money in streets, reducing car repairs and providing for safe travel in our city. Thank you for considering having improved streets and safer travel in our city when you vote on Nov. 8.

     Burton Fox’s article was sent to us as an informational piece for the residents of Owosso. He is an Owosso City Council member. The Independent Newspaper desires to remain unbiased in regards to information contained in this article as well as other editorial content.

City of Owosso Asking Citizens for Street Bond was last modified: November 2nd, 2016 by Karen Elford