Special Assessment Districts

When it comes to roads, Michigan is facing a perfect storm: Funding is declining while maintenance costs are rising. This lack in revenue is creating an enormous debt of needed road repairs. WCRC, on average, receives approximately $3,000 per mile per year from the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) for subdivision roads located in the urban boundary and $1,500 per mile per year in rural areas. Most of this revenue is expended on winter maintenance activities and pothole patching. Due to declining revenues in recent years and significant increasing expenses, WCRC has been forced to suspend preventative maintenance and rehabilitation activities on subdivision roads.

Most citizens understand the value of public infrastructure. Without roads and bridges, there is no interstate commerce to provide the services and products we as Americans are accustomed to receiving. Under-funded roads and bridges negatively affect the quality of life for individuals and families. Home values are impacted when potholes exist on subdivision roads. Car repairs from potholes costs American driver’s millions of dollars every year. With this understanding, most citizens and their elected representatives at the state legislature are of the opinion now is not the time to address funding issues for desperately needed infrastructure repairs.

Some citizens and business owners have turned to Public Act 246 of 1931 and Road Commission P.A. 188 of 1954 (Townships) to address road repair needs in communities. This Act allows property owners along public roads to file a petition seeking improvements to the road through a S.A.D. (Special Assessment District). With a S.A.D., Washtenaw County Road Commission agrees to front the cost of the service with an agreement from the property owners to repay the cost of the improvement over a period of years.  Funding is typically front-loaded by a public bond sale using the full faith and credit of the Township. Repayments of the bonds occur through property owner’s winter tax bill over a period of years (usually 10).

We have already seen a tremendous improvement on Washtenaw County roads since 2009 from the use of SADs with five projects alone just this year.  Current and Past Special Assessment Projects using P.A. 246 includes:

Year Subdivision Twn. Miles Total Cost Principle per Parcel
w/o Interest
2009 Wing Meadows Scio .61 $98,000 $3,080 ($308/year)
2009 Ann Arbor Commerce
(Varsity Industrial ) Park
Pittsfield 1.13 $284,000 $6,770 ($677/year)
2010 Scio Hills Scio 1.39 $402,000 $4,370 ($437/year)
2011 The Uplands of Scio Ridge Scio 1.53 $462,000 $3,530 ($353/year)
2012 Fox Ridge Lodi 0.25 $110,000 $9,800 ($980/year)
2012 The Fairways & The Preserves at the Polo Fields Scio 1.38 $150,000 $3,993 ($400/year)
2012 Saginaw Greens
North & East (Polo Fields)
Scio 2.94 $586,000 $2,100 ($210/year)
2012 Water Road Lodi 1.00 $300,000 $1,700 ($170/year)
2012 Park Road Scio 0.25 $203,843 $5,300 ($530/year)
(residents of Polo Fields) → $1,100 ($110/year)