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GR voters will decide road funding question

1:24 PM, Jan 28, 2014   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- City commissioners Tuesday agreed to put before voters a ballot measure that would put income tax money toward repairing roads.

The proposal comes in the wake of a report that said the city's streets were deteriorating.

The measure would extend a 2010 income tax increase another 15 years. It would raise about $9 million a year for road and sidewalk maintenance.  

"Residents are already paying this. This is a continuation. For that continuation we get good rooms and great sidewalks and great neighborhoods and business districts," said Assistant City Manager Eric Delong.

Commissioners voted unanimously in support of the idea Tuesday.   Commissioner Dave Shaffer, a fiscal hawk, said: "These additional funds will allow us to really take care of muchly needed infrastructure that at this time is the best time to invest in."

Assistant City Manager Eric DeLong said having the vote occur in May would save the city money by avoiding costs incurred from implementing a mid-year change in income tax forms.   Those costs, he said, would be $125,000.   The cost for a special election is $80,000.

Another element of the plan eliminates a property owner's responsibility in repairing damaged sidewalk's when a property is sold.   The city would incur the costs of all sidewalk repair, and extend sidewalks in areas that now have none.

The vote on extending the income tax will occur on May 6.

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