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Posted: 01/02/13

Bruce officials examine
budget, roads in 2013

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Bruce Township's focus will be on its budget, road projects and promoting its industrial corridor in the coming year.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said the budget must be ready by March 31, so it will be a top priority. Like other communities, the township worries about how changes to personal property tax will affect revenue.
       The amendments remove taxes on certain businesses and manufacturers, and doesn't have reimbursements planned for communities losing revenue.
       Brockmann said on the bright side, the township expects state-shared revenue to remain flat or possibly increase, while assessors think property values will remain level.
       "This will be the first year in a while where we won't have to worry about decreased property values, which has been about four years I think," Brockmann said.
       Part of handling the budget is promoting development in the township's industrial corridor, partly to alleviate payments made to its $4.9 million sewer debt.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said he plans to figure out ways to encourage people to come to the corridor, pointing out its sewer and water capacities to bring more business to the area.
       "We have to be aggressive because other communities are," he said. "We are keeping it rural, but we've got that stretch right there that can make all the difference."
       Officials said they will also work on finalizing the agreement with Armada Township to provide water to its industrial zone.
       "Those guys want water over there, which would be a win for us because we'd be selling water to them," Brockmann said.
       In the meantime, a medical campus will likely begin to develop in the spring in the corridor with the construction of a 57,000 square-foot skilled nursing facility.
      
       Sewers and roads
       Investments into infrastructure and roads are on the map for the township in 2013. For instance, the township will use a $60,000 grant to conduct evaluations of pump and lift stations beginning this month.
       The biggest road project this year will be a $14.5 million reconstruction of portions of M-53 north of 32 Mile Road. The project will create a middle left-turn lane from 34 Mile to 36 Mile, a right-turn lane and passing foyers.
       Brockmann said a public meeting tentatively scheduled for the beginning of February will address any concerns residents have about the project.
       Another road project is paving 34 Mile Road from Campground to Fisher roads at a cost of roughly $2.2 million. The township has until October 2013 to decide on whether to accept federal money for the project by providing a $220,000 contribution.
       "We have this $2 million available to us through federal transportation dollars that the township would have to put a minimum amount to match," Brockmann said.
       Officials said anything from a special assessment district to a low-interest rate loan or municipal bonds could be used to pay for the grant.
      
       Emergency services
       The township will evaluate its agreement with Almont Township this year on providing the lower half of the township with advanced life support services. Almont pays $7,690 on or before July 1 to receive ambulance services from the Bruce-Romeo Fire Department.
       "From what I've heard, they've changed lives up there," Cory said.
       Both Cory and Brockmann said there are no plans to re-visit the police issue in the township at this time. Instead, the township will rely on the emergency services from the Macomb County Sheriff's Office and the Michigan State Police patrols.
       "When our residents dial 911, they just want a car," Cory said.
       Issues with firearm discharge, however, will continue to be investigated into the new year. Concerns were brought up in late 2012 with target shooting taking place near a resident's property.
       "We have to decipher whether it's an issue the township needs to have some control over or if it's something that we can work out neighborly," Brockmann said.
      


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