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A Funding Alternative for Better Neighborhood Roads

Some Bloomfield Township residents are concerned about the condition of their subdivision roads and have asked Township officials about making improvements to them. This section of the website is intended to provide general background regarding responsibility for maintenance of our roads and the historic methods of their funding. It will also give information that will help the homeowner understand the options we have now.

A state law, Public Act 51 (PA 51), establishes the distribution of funds for the maintenance of certified local subdivision roads and major thoroughfares in the State of Michigan. The sources of this funding are gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. The state, cities and counties are considered to be the owners of all public streets and roads in the state and as such, have responsibility for their maintenance and repair.

Bloomfield Township is an exception to this. It is the only township in the state that directly provides road maintenance to its residents. In the late 1960’s, at the request of the Township, PA 51 was adjusted to allow us to enter into a contractual agreement with Oakland County to take over the surface maintenance and repair of our own subdivision roads. The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) retained maintenance responsibility for all thoroughfares other than subdivision roads. RCOC also is responsible for all signage, drainage, and anything outside of the roads surface on all subdivision roads.Additionally, the RCOC maintained legal jurisdiction over all the roadways within the Township.

A condition of this agreement mandated that Bloomfield Township pass a special one-mil millage for the maintenance of subdivision roads. We cannot use PA 51 funding for the replacement or reconstruction of subdivision roads, or for the paving of gravel roads. The reasoning was - and still is today - that local roads only benefit residents in that specific area. Subdivision roads do not provide a thoroughfare for general traffic, so state funding from PA 51 cannot provide for their improvement.

The typical life span of a road is 20 years. Most roads in the Township’s subdivisions are considerably older than 20 years and many of them show their age. Road replacement, however, is a costly undertaking.

Bloomfield Township currently levies .699 mills of the approved 1 mil, after the Headlee and Proposal A rollbacks, for the maintenance and routine repair of subdivision roads. For a homeowner with a Taxable Value of $200,000, this works out to $138 a year. That amount stretches to cover plowing, salting, sweeping and patching of more than 213 miles of concrete, asphalt and gravel subdivision roads. This includes the grading and dust control of 30 miles of gravel roads. The millage was never intended to cover major projects such as the replacement or reconstruction of a road or the paving of gravel roads.

For road replacement or reconstruction projects in subdivisions, the creation of a Special Assessment District (SAD) is necessary. This puts the responsibility of the subdivision roads on the homeowners in each subdivision. The cost of road replacement or reconstruction projects varies depending on:

  • the number of lots
  • the length of roadway per lot;
  • the nature of the improvements; and
  • the type of road and its overall condition.

Costs may range from $11,000 to $35,000 per lot.

Homeowners interested in getting more information about a Special Assessment District can click here or contact the Assessing Department at 248-433-7710. We will explain the process, which begins with an interest form to be signed by property owners.