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Township officials: S.A.D.s to get closer look

February 09, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- Residents of Legault Boulevard submitted a petition to the township last year requesting the street be designated a special assessment district.

They will have to wait awhile longer to see if the township approves such a move, which would ultimately mean all Legault property owners would have equal responsibility in paying for maintenance of the road.

The township board briefly discussed the matter during their Feb. 7 meeting.

"I don't believe we as a township have a proper ordinance for special assessment districts," said Trustee Cheryl Gault. "The committee hasn't given us additional information."

The committee Gault was referring to is one formed in October to study S.A.D.s after the township board failed to approve a third reading of a resolution that would have made Legault an S.A.D. The committee, consisting of Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Treasurer Terry Beltramo and Trustee David King, had its first meeting Jan. 14. They will meet again at 10 a.m., Feb. 23, at the township offices, 395 Mill St.

Thurman said she will examine if the township has existing requirements for special assessments districts, while King will investigate what surrounding communities are doing regarding S.A.D.s and Beltramo will research the costs of creating and administering them.

Thurman plans to take the Legault resolution back to the township attorney to see if it needs to be rewritten before bringing it back to a future board meeting to be voted on again.

"If we go forward and set a precedent, what is the manageability of 200 private roads in the township?" asked King during the township board meeting. "We need to understand the potential workload and manage it in a way that is most efficient. It's a complex topic. I'm concerned that many citizens on private roads would come forward and can we afford to do this."

"We can't circumvent state law and prevent residents from petitioning the township," said Clerk Jeannie McCreery on Tuesday. "The committee is looking at setting policies... It's complicated, because there are about 10 different statutes covering S.A.D.s and it has to be for the S.A.D. you are forming. This (Legault) resolution is for a maintenance S.A.D."

Legault Boulevard has declined in the last couple years and residents have tolerated what they call a "very bombed out road" because of a lack of money to maintain it. Frustrated, 28 of the 31 residents of LeGault signed a petition requesting that the township board designate LeGault Boulevard a special assessment district. If the township board were to approve the request, road maintenance fees would be assessed and collected by the township treasurer as part of the yearly property taxes on all the properties on LeGault (in addition to the 31 residences, there are also four vacant properties).

Residents who did not pay the assessment would be considered delinquent on their taxes and could lose their homes to foreclosure.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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