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Posted: 01/23/13

Bruce Twp. agrees to go after
state loan for 34 Mile paving

Observer Staff Writer
      Officials in Bruce Township are seeking ways to fund a $2.2 million project that would pave 34 Mile Road.
       The Board of Trustees agreed to apply for a state infrastructure loan during its Jan. 16 meeting in order to finance its match for a federal grant.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said county road officials told him the project was a "once in a lifetime opportunity" for the township, and would be the largest allocation of money in the northern portion of the county.
       The project will be $2.2 million in paving on 34 Mile Road from Campground to Fisher roads. Of the cost, $1.8 million will come from federal grant dollars, but to receive it, a portion of the grant and engineering costs must be matched by the beneficiaries.
       The township must contribute a $450,000 match. Among the options discussed for financing such a hefty price tag, the board decided to apply for a low-interest loan.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said the loan is a maximum of 25 years with 3 percent interest. She estimated it to be $18,000 to $20,000 a year for the township.
       "Obviously, the general fund doesn't have the money to fund this project," she said.
       Outside of the meeting, she said the township could look at having its sewer fund pay back other funds, such as the cable fund, to have excess money available.
       Other options the board considered included a Special Assessment District (SAD) for the area affected by the project or with municipal bonds.
       Trustees noted it wouldn't be fair to impose the cost of the project on residents with a SAD since many residents would use the road, not just those on 34 Mile Road.
       Treasurer Deborah Obrecht spoke against bonding, saying it would be too costly to the township, and instead suggested going for the loan.
       "You don't have all the up front costs on the bonding like we did for the sewer," Obrecht said.
       Trustee Paul Okoniewski said the Ford Proving Grounds is interested in having the road paved, so the township could talk with it about financial support.
       He agreed that the township may never have an opportunity like this again.
       "Were going to try every which way we can to see how we can pull something like this off," he said.
       The board must let the county know by October whether it will put up its portion of the match.

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