Questions and Answers about the 2018 Street Bond
1. Why do we need a roads millage?
The amount of funds budgeted annually for road repair
and replacement, approximately $550,000 per year, is not
sufficient to keep pace with the rate at which roads are
At present, 46.5% of Northville roads
have a “poor” rating … which means that we are repairing
roads when they get closer to the “replacement”
condition. This is a very expensive way to maintain
roads. It also results in people driving on roads that
are more likely to develop potholes and crumbling
2. How much is the millage?
The estimated millage to be levied beginning in 2019
would be 0.9787 mills (98¢ per $1,000 of taxable value).
That would result in issuing a $3,050,000 Street
Improvement Bond, paid for over 10 years ($50,000 of
that amount covers the cost of issuing the bonds). The
average residential taxpayer has a taxable value of
$139,943, which amounts to an increase of $137 on their
2019 City tax bill. That increase would continue for a
total of 10 years.
3. Will new property
development share in the cost? Any new
development in the City will pay its share of the bond
once the property is on the tax rolls at its new value.
If there is any new development, this will reduce the
amount of tax paid by existing property owners over the
10-year bond period.
4. How will the
Street Bond change the way roads are repaired?
The City currently spends approximately $550,000 per
year to repair streets. Bond funds will be able to bring
most street conditions up to “good” before they
deteriorate to a condition that requires costly repairs.
Engineers and financial analysts have determined that
reconstructing failed streets later is much more
expensive than repairing and resurfacing streets now.
The total costs of maintenance and street reconstruction
are projected to be $2.5 million lower over the
following 15 years, if the bond issue passes, than if
the City continues to spend funds in its present manner.
(Refer to Engineer’s chart of poor/fair/good
5. How will the bond money
The bond funds would be
combined with the City’s existing street millage and
$1,050,000 from reserve funds to finance an infusion of
$6.25 million into street repairs and replacement over
the next four years. After spending these initial funds,
the City would continue to use its existing street
millage (currently 1.68 mills), which generates about
$550,000 annually, to repair and maintain the improved
street system. (See financial chart showing
6. How do we know that
the money from the bond issue will be spent on streets?
The wording of the ballot language stipulates that
funds from the bond issue must be used “to pay the cost
of acquiring and constructing street improvements
throughout the City, consisting of paving, repaving,
grading, resurfacing, reconstructing and improving
streets, including curb, gutter, sidewalk, drainage and
7. Why isn’t the City
planning on doing more? We realize that no one
wants to pay additional tax. So, the City put together a
plan that will significantly impact our roads and ask as
little as possible from taxpayers. It is important to
remember that this plan, while measurably improving
roads, will not bring all roads to good condition.
8. How will Northville determine which
streets will be repaired?
Our engineers will
objectively select the streets to be repaired, based on
the condition at the time, using the Pavement Surface
Evaluation and Rating (PASER) system, and Roadsoft
software. The overall condition of the roadway network
(OCI) and practicalities – such as traffic volumes,
scheduling close repairs together, and not obstructing
alternative routes – will factor into the plan.
9. How are other communities handling road repairs?
Canton is proposing a millage of 1.45 over 20 years on
the township’s Aug. 7 ballot. In 2014, Royal Oak voters
approved a 10-year, 2.5-mill tax increase to upgrade
See details here. In 2016, Ann Arbor renewed a
street, bridge and sidewalk millage, and bridges of up
to 2.125 mills for five years (2017-2021).
See details here. Brighton is asking for a 4.34 mill
increase to repair and maintain roads on the August
See details here.
10. Why doesn’t the
new increase in the statewide gas tax cover our City’s
The state tax on unleaded
gasoline increased from 19 cents to 26.3 cents per
gallon on Jan. 1, 2017. It will eventually add $1.2
billion a year to fix the state’s crumbling streets and
bridges. Transportation officials warn the higher taxes
won’t translate into better streets for years to come
and also because the program is not fully funded.
Michigan won’t be spending the full additional $1.2
billion annually on streets and bridges until 2021 if
the money is available. (reference:
11. How much did the
City of Northville receive from the statewide gas tax
increase (Act 51)?
In 2018, Northville
received an additional $38,354.68, This slight increase
helps to offset street maintenance costs, like patching
and snow plowing, but isn’t enough to cover street
repair or reconstruction.
12. How do we
know that repairs will last?
The City will
contract with a single engineering firm to supervise all
road projects over the bond’s life. This will insure
continuity and a high construction standard. Maintaining
streets in a strategic manner – such as sealing cracks
and sealing the surface during preventive maintenance –
will help insure that our streets reach their optimal
lifespan. Repairing (or replacing) streets only when
they are in poor or fair condition will leave the City
in a perpetual “put out the fire” mode. Through
preventive measures and replacement of the most worn
streets, the City will be able to maintain a roadway
network considered to be in good condition.
13. Please state your question if it does
not appear in this Q&A, direct it to the City Manager.
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