I’ve served on the Board of Road Commissioners for Kalamazoo County (RCKC) for 4 years of my 6 year term. It’s been a very bittersweet experience. I love being able to help plan and manage the resources of the RCKC to make the best road system that we can have in Kalamazoo County. I like doing that. I don’t like the constant phone calls and complaints about what we do. I don’t mind the calls so much, but I can’t stand the calls that involve an individual who does not want to listen to any information that doesn’t back what they want to hear.
Each meeting the members of the Road Commission get a chance to make comments at the end of the meeting. This is what I said today:
I want to thank Comstock township supervisor Ann Newenhuis and Kalamazoo township supervisor Ron Reid for their comments during the last County Commission meeting. Supervisor Newenhuis, especially, points out how easy it is to place blame on the Road Commission when people and elected officials don’t know what our funding situation is or what the laws are regarding local road projects, aside from those laws that allow a county commission to dissolve a road commission.
I need to share with the members of this commission that I’ve heard from the residents of West G. Ave in Oshtemo Township … Again. As you may recall, this is a road that is a local road, it hasn’t been fully repaved in 30 years. They are angry and rightfully so. As the Liasion to Oshtemo township, they gave me a courtesy call that they were in the process of contact the News 3 I-Team and WOOD TV 8 to get them involved in the situation.
I told the folks there “Good for you!” I say that not because I think the road commission could use more negative publicity but because it will help us enlighten and educate the public on what we do and how limited we are under Act 51.
We can, at the most, provide 50% of the cost of a local road project under the Act. That’s the law. The rest has to come from another source, ideally Oshtemo Township. Until Oshtemo Township makes the citizens of West G. Ave a priority, the most we can do is to patch a pothole on a dying road.
2016 is an election year. It’s important to elect good people all through the ballot, from the President of the United States, to State Representative, to County Commissioner, to Township Supervisor, Treasuer, and Trustee. If the people who have been elected in Oshtemo Township aren’t serving you, then it’s time to find someone who will. If I lived in Oshtemo, I’d throw my name on the ballot – but unfortunately I don’t. I do hope that you will find someone who will.
Until then, I will continue to do what I can to keep throw some patch on a pothole on a dying road.