Spend Our Trails Millage to Bailout a Subdivision?

At the 10/1/13 Planning Commission meeting Mr. Ron Hein, a  Planning Commissioner newly appointed by Supervisor Gonser and the Board, volunteered to serve on the Township Safety Paths and Trails Committee saying “I have a little bit of a vested interest in this.”  Ron went on to say that his subdivision (the Hills of Oakland at Adams and Dutton)  has safety paths that need repair and that rather than build new trails and connections the Township should maintain what we already have (watch the video below).

This is not a new idea.  Treasurer Jeanne Langlois proposed the same thing at a Safety Paths and Trails Committee meeting this summer.  She was told then that this would not be an appropriate use of taxpayer’s money.  Hein and Langlois, together, will be half of the body which has the responsibility of suggesting to the Board how our trails and safety paths millage money is spent.

The safety paths that Ron and Jeanne want to spend our money on are privately owned and their maintenance is the responsibility of the homeowners and their associations.  If they have been allowed to fall into disrepair, as Mr. Hein says, he and his neighbors need to pay for the repairs.  Is this why he says he has a “vested interest”?

The millage language that we, the voters, approved says precisely how our money must be spent.

“Nov. 2006


Shall the Charter Township of Oakland be authorized to levy up to .25 (1/4) of one mill for a period of ten years, starting with the December 2007 levy, to provide funds for the construction and maintenance of a network of safety paths, trails and boardwalks to provide healthy recreational opportunities and safe routes to schools, parks and neighborhoods in the Township, and for the acquisition of property and right-of-way for such purposes?  Approval of this proposal would authorize a tax limitation increase of 25 cents per $1,000 of taxable value on all taxable property in the Township.  The proposal is for a new additional millage the revenue from which would be disbursed to the Charter Township of Oakland. It is estimated this proposal would result in the Authorization to collect $315,178 in the first Year, if approved and levied.”

Our money is to be spent to construct and maintain a network of trails that connect parks, schools and neighborhoods. It says nothing about bailing out subdivision residents.  Mr. Hein’s subdivision safety paths do not form a network nor connect to parks, or schools. We have millions of our tax dollars at stake.  Gonser and the Board know that unless we, the residents, make it plain that this misuse of our money is unacceptable they can do it and get away with it.  No one else is watching to be sure that the Board spends our trails money appropriately.  Make your voice heard!

Jim Foulkrod

5 thoughts on “Spend Our Trails Millage to Bailout a Subdivision?

  1. Marty Rosalik

    I would like the OT taxpayers to grade my 1/8 mile long driveway too! This sounds like a “special assessment” case for repairs just like everywhere else. Maybe the developer of that subdivision will fix it as a “good will” gesture.

  2. Carolyn

    All we want as citizens is for our children and selves to be able to safely traverse the roads. We want to go to our wonderful parks without having to drive our car there, we want to safely bike down to Rochester (or Adams) on a beautiful fall day, stop at the cider mill and then visit our library and ride our bikes back. Some folks bike the entire township and would love to have a safe path through all of our parks and trails; others just want to walk down their block. We voted for this millage to connect our township, not to take care of private paths or personal projects. We ALL have a vested interest in the paths. Please remember the township is larger than the Adams and Dutton corner and you represent all of it. Thank you.

  3. Bob Yager

    I interpreted the millage that I voted for as paying for maintenance of safety paths along major roads. I believe the safety paths in question near Mr. Hein’s neighborhood, the Hills of Oakland, are bordering Adams, Dutton and Silverbell Rds. These paths can lead to Musson Elementary, Delta Kelly Elementary, Adams High School and the middle school next to Adams High School and the mall with Krogers. Interior to Hills of Oakland subdivision,there are, to my knowledge, no safety paths. If I understand correctly, our antiquated sidewalk ordinance does says that Mr. Hein’s neighborhood must make repairs when requested by the township. To have a patchwork system of repairs to safety paths used by all, made by individual subdivisions seems illogical to me on many levels – quality, safety, etc.

    I suggest we examine what Orion Township does as a model. The developer installs the safety path and from that point forward it is a township responsibility to repair them. They also have a very large Safety Path Committee. See their website.

  4. Pingback: Gonser Defeated on Another Pet Trail Project | Oakland Township Watchers

  5. Pingback: Hills of Oakland Bailout – Old Promises, New Threats | Oakland Township Watchers

Comment or Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s