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Fund balance enough to cover cost of road repair

April 27, 2011 - Ortonville- Pond Street may get a much-needed facelift soon.

Pond is a fairly short village road at roughly 550 feet, said Village Manager Larry Brown, but one that is heavily used— the post office is located off it, as well as Fire Station #1. Additionally, Pond Street is the heart of many gatherings in the village, including CreekFest and SeptemberFest, and the wear and tear on the road is showing, with severe cracking and multiple potholes.

Pond Street tops the list of village roads that are most in need of repair or replacement and during their April 25 meeting, the village council unanimously approved a motion to request Rowe Engineering to provide specifications and a bid package for resurfacing of the road.

Brown estimates the job could cost between $75,000 to $100,000, depending on whether the council chooses to have a company "dig out and start from ground zero or use base materials."

"The road does not drain and water gets under the road and makes it deteriorate faster," Brown said. "The professionals need to come out and do elevations for bids."

If the council decides to move ahead with resurfacing the road, the project will be paid for with money from the village fund balance, which is currently in excess of $500,000.

Councilman Dan Eschmann noted that with the large fund balance, the village is in good standing, but wondered what the ideal fund balance should be.

"A general rule of thumb is 30 percent of the budget," Brown responded. "It should be $200,000 instead of $500,000."

Besides Pond Street, the village council is also considering improvements to Varsity Drive that may cost roughly $55,000, as well as James Street from Mill to Myron, estimated to cost about $20,000. "We're still looking at economic times ahead where revenues continue to fall, so we have to be careful about using the fund balance for special projects when we may need it for operations," Brown said. "But at the same time, some of our frequently used roads are continuing to deteriorate, so we want to repair the very worst roads. There are many roads in the village that need repair, but some are worse than others and some are more traveled than others. There is just not enough money to fix them all, so the council has to pick and choose which ones it can afford."

Fire Chief Dave Kwapis said he hoped that the council would choose Pond Street for improvements, noting that the parking lot of fire station #1 is deteriorating and the department has waited to fix it due to concerns that if Pond was repaired later, it could negatively affect the parking lot.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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