Filling in the Gaps, Millage Renewal Continues for Road Reconstruction in Saline


Reconstruction is in full force among major and local roads in the Saline area. Saline City Council members met August 1, 2022, with a 7-0 vote to approve the ballot for the new millage extension, which was initially set to extend three years and into 2024. The voter charter was approved in 2019, and collections were levied for the proposed projects.

In November 2018, an amendment was passed that generates half a million dollars every year to assist in road reconstruction within the community. Millage dollars are only one resource of funding for the road renewal projects, and the amount levied by taxpayers will remain unchanged. These funds are allocated for road reconstruction and mill and fill solutions. One mil translates to 1/1000 of a dollar for property tax value and provides partial funding to the half a million dollars needed to further the construction.

This contribution is set to stabilize momentum for the improvement of current and future road projects. According to city engineers, in 2021 the High and Hillcrest Drive projects exceeded the millage budget, “...some of the dollars also go to larger projects” stated City Manager Colleen O'Toole. From 2019 to 2021 MDOT provided capital for a mill and fill only, the city now looks at total reconstruction for other roadways and underground road utilities in Saline. Further MDOT state funding and bond proceeds are additional sources the city relies on.

Current projects from 2019, 2020 and into 2022 include Industrial Drive, Mills Road, Nichols Drive, Woodland Drive, Pleasant Ridge Drive, South Harris Street, and Clark Street. Projects such as Mills Road include new pavement and new crosswalks for pedestrians to enjoy. Maple Street is already approved for reconstruction in the Spring of 2023 and there are more on the horizon. “In the next three years, we plan to do another 11 segments,” said O’Toole.

City engineers use a rating system called PASER (pavement surface evaluation and rating), which helps to determine the quality of each road and its condition. This structure determines what improvements are necessary, “we do rate our local and major streets separate” said DPW Sirls. According to the city map, the PASER ratings are good 6-10, fair 4-5, and poor 1-3.

The “Asset Management Program'' launched in 2020 and set into motion the city’s infrastructure as a whole, the first road under the program was Industrial Drive. Other rebuilding designs considered in this program are water main and storm replacement. The program was so successful that in 2020 the Mill Street construction won project of the year.

Road damage speaks volumes, most importantly when considering the volume of traffic escalating in the area. “People weren’t commuting to work or going out to eat”, “we are starting to leave that sentiment behind” said O’Toole in regard to the pandemic and traffic increase. Keeping the November 2022 election in mind, voters may be asking where exactly their millage dollars are going. The roads speak for themselves and with the hard work of the city, voters can watch as these concrete plans continue in action.

There will soon be a page dedicated to the millage through the city website for public viewing.

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