Bethel introduces new levy

By Cecilia Fox -

BETHEL TOWNSHIP — On Election Day, Bethel Township is asking voters to approve a new levy to fund road maintenance.

This 2.1 mill levy will go to the reconstruction, resurfacing, and repair of township streets, township administrator Andy Ehrhart said. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $74 per year.

Currently the township does not have a local funding source for road maintenance. Instead, the township receives less than $100,000 a year from the gasoline, motor vehicle license, and permissive motor vehicle taxes from the state. Those funds fluctuate from year to year.

Because it currently costs about $120,000 to pave one mile of roadway, Ehrhart said, this levy would allow the township to pave more frequently. The township can only afford to pave one mile of roadway every two years at current funding levels, a timeline which will only get longer as costs go up, he explained.

For example, Haskett Lane was last repaved in the early 1990s and it in “pretty bad shape,” Ehrhart said. It is currently planned for repaving in 2018, meaning it will have been nearly 30 years since it was last repaved.

“We want to be able to do that at a much higher rate so that we can keep up with our aging roads,” he said.

The township has tried many ways to lengthen the life span of its roads, Ehrhart said, including chip sealing and crack sealing.

The Road Department has one full time employee and hires part time seasonal workers as needed. The department is responsible for repaving, sealing, roadside mowing, tree trimming, culvert maintenance, pot hole repair, snow and ice removal and more for 26 miles of roadway.

By Cecilia Fox