By Linda Dillman
The Madison Township trustees are seeking answers to dwindling resources and deteriorating roadways.
“If anybody drives on township roads, they know we have some issues,” said Madison Township Trustee Chairman John Pritchard on May 14 before asking Public Works Superintendent Dave Watkins what would happen with the roads if nothing was done.
Watkins replied, “The roads would just turn into gravel.”
According to Watkins, it costs approximately $150,000 per mile to renovate a road, money the township doesn’t have. The longer the wait, the more work and more expensive the situation becomes.
While maintaining roads in developments like Blacklick Estates is an ongoing battle between time and resources, Watkins said country roads also need a lot of work.
“It seems every day we fall behind a little more,” Watkins said. “We’re down one person, but doing the best we can.”
Pritchard said the last time the township asked for approval of a road and bridge levy was 18 years ago and it was “shot down.” Throughout the years, as costs increased, the road department shrunk. At one time, there were seven to eight workers.
The number of employees today is much smaller, but the coverage area has remained relatively the same.
“This is not something that just hit us,” said Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst. “We really struggle with what we can do. We’ve got to start working towards some solutions.”
Pritchard said the township has four options: do nothing and let the roads continue to deteriorate; consider inside millage; ask for a general fund levy, which impacts all township voters or go to the ballot with a road levy, which impacts property owners in unincorporated areas of the township.
Trustee John Kershner said the township is waiting on updated data before moving ahead.
“The bottom line is we need money,” Pritchard said. “We’re desperate to fix the roads. I want folks to know what we’re facing. It’s going to cost money. If we want roads that aren’t going to fall apart and turn to gravel, we need money. We’re at that point where we need to address it and do the right thing.”