Lansing City Council Talks Roads Two Weeks Before Budget Deadline

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The Lansing City Council has heard everything from BWL fees to cemetery and garbage service and on Monday night, it was the Department of Public Service's turn to deliver its budget for next year.

A big part of which is $3.1 million to be spent on the city's roads. $1.8 million will come from the roads millage and the other $1.3 million from the general fund.

"It's direly needed," said Director of Public Service Chad Gamble, after showing the council just how bad off the city's roads are. "Almost 200 miles of our 400 mile network is in the rating of 'poor'.

According to the 2013 PASER ratings, 60 percent of local roads and 30 percent of major roads need structural improvement. Those numbers surprised Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar.

"I knew that the roads were bad, but I didn't realize how many of the roads," she said.

Dunbar places much of the blame on trash haulers, both from the city and two other local companies.

"Three days a week, you have trash on the road," she said. "Three days a week, you've got this weight bearing truck on the roads, degrading the asphalt."

Her solution? In addition to the $3.1 million for roads, she suggests a surcharge to trash companies to help pay for wear and tear.

"It's a balancing act," said Council President Carol Wood. "How much more can you ask people to pay and how does it impact everything else?"

It's one of many questions being asked before the budget's May 20 due date.

"The third week in May is what our charter says," said Wood. "By the Budgeting Act, we're required to have it done, so we will have it done, one way or another."

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