Linden residents will have an opportunity to vote for better roads, through a millage, at the Nov. 6 general election.
After months of discussing the millage and deciding the language, the Linden City Council voted July 23 to approve a new millage of 5 mills for a 10-year term.
“We have a duty to our residents to spend wisely and plan for the future. The decision to place the road millage on the ballot was not an easy one,” said Linden Mayor Danielle Cusson.
Residents would be charged $5 per $1,000 of taxable value of their property.
The language states that the millage is for the purposes of improving, replacing, resurfacing and reconstructing streets in the city of Linden, along with drainage work and other improvements. (See sidebar for the exact language.)
City Manager Paul Zelenak said it’s estimated the levy will generate $520,000 in the first year.
Cusson said the council has discussed the conditions of roads and funding for rehabilitation for months.
“The roads have been our top focus in work sessions and regular meetings. With the decreased revenue from property taxes and the loss in revenue sharing ($1.3 million lost since 2002), Linden, like many local municipalities, does not have the funds to do rehabilitation and reconstruction of the roads in addition to maintenance,” she said.
The condition of the roads has decreased over the years. Linden roads were judged based on the PASER (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating) scale in 2014 on a scale of one to 10, according to a past Times article. A rating of 10 is the best. Linden roads received an average of 4.9 at the time. In 2018, the roads average a 3.3 rating. There are numerous roads between a 6-10 rating.
The city created a Road Improvement Plan that outlines which roads and projects will be done over the next 10 years. The Linden Downtown Development Authority (DDA) opted out of receiving any money from the potential road millage.
Before the vote in November, Cusson said they will be working to provide residents with information to help them make an informed decision.
“I have also proposed setting up times where residents can come and meet with council members, city staff or members of the road committee to discuss their concerns,” she said. “All of the council members and city staff have done their homework to look at how our funds are allocated and searched for ways short of proposing a road millage to the residents.”
The council also has worked on a special assessment district policy.
Zelenak said they will be having pubic information meetings, and all the information is available on the city website lindenmi.us.
Linden road millage ballot language
“Shall the City of Linden levy a new millage of 5.0 mills ($5.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a 10-year term (2019 through 2028 inclusive), for purposes of improving, replacing, resurfacing and reconstructing streets in the City, including drainage improvements and curbs and gutters, together with necessary rights-of-way, appurtenances and attachments, pursuant to the Road Improvement Plan that is available for inspection at Linden City Hall?” It is estimated that the levy will generate $520,000 in the first year.