OWOSSO CIY COUNCIL members can be seen during the council’s Tuesday, Feb. 20 meeting, during which they approved City Manager Nathan Henne’s contract and two Special Assessment Districts. Shown (from left) are council members Elaine Greenway, Burton Fox and Lori Bailey; Mayor Chris Eveleth; Mayor Pro-Tem Sue Osika; and council members Robert Teich and Dan Law.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Owosso City Council approved a Special Assessment District during its Tuesday, Feb. 20 meeting for the section of Olmstead Street between West and Chipman streets. The section will be resurfaced this year, with Olmstead Street residents paying 40 percent of the cost – approximately $2,000 per household – and the city covering the remaining 60 percent – roughly $93,000 – with funds from the $10 million street improvement bond passed by voters in November 2016. The resurfacing should extend the life of the street 20 years, according to City Manager Don Crawford, and residents will be allowed to pay their share up front or over a 10-year period.
Several Olmstead Street residents voiced their displeasure with the council’s decision to resurface the street during the Feb. 20 meeting. The residents expressed the concern that some of their neighbors simply could not afford the special assessment, and they pointed out that the street is in good condition and does not need to be repaired. One resident also noted that many Olmstead Street residents did not attend the meeting because they doubted the council would take their opinions into consideration.
Owosso Township resident Tom Manke also spoke during the public hearing, using his time to question the council on the decision to repair Olmstead Street – located north of Main Street – instead of some of the streets south of Main Street that are in much worse condition. Manke criticized the council for favoring the residents who live in the city’s northern quadrant.
“We have streets on the south side that are completely gone, while we have residents on the north side who don’t need or want their street repaired. You can’t tell me the north side of town is not treated differently than the south side,” Manke said.
The council listened intently to each resident who spoke during the Special Assessment District public hearing. Council members, City Manager Don Crawford and Public Services Director Glenn Chinavare then addressed each question following the public comment section.
Council member Burton Fox defended the decision by explaining that repairing the street now instead of waiting for the street to fail completely will “make our dollars go farther.” He pointed out that the cost to completely repave the street would be approximately $3 million per mile, compared to an estimated $156,286 to resurface the street.
It was also noted, in response to Manke’s comments, that of the streets included in the city’s 2018 repair plan, more than half of the planned repairs will be to streets located south of Main Street. The plan can be viewed in its entirety on the city of Owosso website, but the streets that are set to be repaired in 2018 include:
Street reconstructions are scheduled for E. Oliver Street from Oak to Gould (approved Feb. 20); Gould, Monroe and McMillan streets near the Hugh Parker Soccer Complex; and Chipman Street from Stewart to South. Street resurfacing will be completed on Stewart Street from Shiawassee to Cedar; Williams Street from Water to Shiawassee; Summit Street from Abbot to Rubelman; Harding Street from Hanover to Chipman; and 200 feet of Howard Street near Washington.
Maintenance work is scheduled for Ridge Street from Ball to Division; Auburndale Avenue from Division to Alger; Harper Street from Washington to Division; Woodlawn Street from Corunna Avenue to Keyte Street; and Vandecarr Road from Harper Street to the southern city limits.
The council unanimously approved the Special Assessment District.