Etna will ask for 1.5-mill road, bridge levy on May 7 ballot
Etna Township trustees voted unanimously Feb. 5 to place a five-year, 1.5-mill levy on the May 7 ballot.
The levy would generate $505,320 annually to fund road and bridge repairs. It would cost about $46 per year per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.
Etna Township voters on Nov. 6 denied a similar issue, 4,706 votes to 2,916.
"We want people to understand that, if this passes, (we will remove) the $5 license plate fee," said John Carlisle, president of the township board of trustees.
The license plate fee generates an estimated $50,000 annually for road repairs. The township also collects $238,826 annually in state funds for road repairs.
But the township needs to spend more than that annually to repave and repair the 51 miles of township roads, Carlisle said.
"The cost to pave our roads has doubled over the years," he said. "It used to cost $45,000 to $50,000, and the bids we got last year were for $100,000 to $110,000 per mile."
Carlisle said many of the township roads are in subdivisions, which cost more to pave because they must be ground down before paving to maintain existing curbs and gutters.
"You have to grind off a layer first, before you pave, which costs $20,000 to $25,000 extra per mile," he said.
Carlisle said trustees have been supplementing the road and bridge fund with money from the general fund, which is needed for other purchases.
He said the township still needs to replace the township maintenance facility on the west end of South Street. He said the building is so small that two to three pieces of equipment must be moved outside for employees to work on any equipment.
Carlisle said the general fund also helps purchase new equipment, such as trucks used for snow removal that can cost more than $100,000 per vehicle.
"Costs are just escalating," Carlisle said. "We used to pave five miles (of roads) a year. Now we are lucky to do two miles."
Carlisle said if the levy is approved in May and state funds continue to be collected, the township will have $750,000 in the road and bridge maintenance and repair fund.
"Even if we can repave five miles (of roads) a year, it will take us 10 years to repave all of them," he said.