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AI- 3037   12. B. 1.    
BOC Regular
Meeting Date: 11/21/2019  
Approval of Modifications to County Board Policy 509
FROM: Jim Dyer, Corporation Counsel, Corporation Counsel
Department: Corporation Counsel  

Resolved, that the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners approves modified Board Policy 509 concerning the Local Road Improvement Funding Program as presented.
County Administration, the Road Department Managing Director, and the Corporation Counsel recommend approval of the Resolution, as presented. 
The proposed resolution is a substantial modification to Policy 509, the Local Road Improvement Funding Program. The proposed modification is intended to limit Policy 509 to categorizing the various types of local road construction, modification and repair projects, of a scope exceeding routine maintenance, where the County is limited in the use of Act 51 monies for “uses” and for “construction purpose” on County local roads. 

These limitations are expressed in MCL 247.662 (9)-(15), which both prohibits the County from using more than 50% of Act 51 monies returned to the County on local road projects and requiring “matching funds” on local road construction. A copy of the relevant section of Act 51 is attached to this agenda item for review.

The primary purpose of this modification to Policy 509 is to separate the issue of jurisdiction over the roads (who owns the road and has legal responsibility for its condition) from the issue of funding road construction, modification and repair. The proposed revisions to Policy 509 therefore does not address the issue of jurisdiction. That issue is determined by other statutes and considerations separate from Act 51 and the question of road funding. This separation is necessary because the County cannot cede, and a Township may not assume, jurisdictional responsibility for any portion of the County local road system, including local roads within a Township.  Since a Township cannot assume jurisdiction over local roads it likewise cannot dictate to the County how local roads will be maintained where there is a dispute between the County and the Township.

Given that relationship, the proposed revision to Policy 509 addresses only questions of funding, and does not address jurisdictional or maintenance disputes. The law governing road jurisdiction remains applicable and cannot be modified by County Policy.

On the issue of funding, the proposed modification to Policy 509 has taken into account the feedback received, both formally at past Commission meeting, and informally in discussions with Township officials, residents, and County Commissioners, that have expressed reservations with current Policy 509, and earlier “return to gravel” policy proposals.

Since it addresses only funding sources, this proposal generally uses a 50/50 funding formula, with percentages based on the proportion of Act 51 dollars contributed by the County as its “match.”  The revised Policy 509 does not specify or mandate that the matching funds come directly from the Township; rather the policy specifies the percentage amount the County is willing to match on each category of project. There is no mandate concerning the source of the “other funds,” be it a local tax levy, special assessment district, loans, grants, fundraising, etc. Indeed the policy specifically permits an installment payment and loan/bond finance programs.

Finally, the previously proposed “Failed Road Policy” is incorporated into this revised Policy 509 by expressly permitting the managing director to contract to “return to gravel”  a failed road at the specific request of a Township at 100% County expense. In such cases the scope of such a project must be defined by a contract with the Township. Because it is a jurisdictional issue, the policy does not address a situation where a township does not agree to return a local road to gravel.
As suggsted by the Commission.
It is recommended that the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners approves modified Board Policy 509 concerning the Local Road Improvement Funding Program as presented.

Fiscal Impact
Modified Policy 509
Act 51 Excerpt

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