Friday, January 14, 2011

So the County Commission DOES Have a Role in County Roads?

I'm confused, and readers of the Livingston Press and Argus must be, too.

When Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commission pointed out the poor condition of county roads and pledged to stop spending money on wasteful projects and fix the roads instead, the county commission insisted it had no role whatsoever in county road building. That was all up to the road commission and all the county commission did was appoint the commissioners and set their salaries and then totally ignore whatever they did. Even though the commission has an "infrastructure committee."

The Livingston Press and Argus backed them up on that during the campaign and again later, insisting in its year-end story wrapping up political highlights of the year that the county commission doesn't have anything to do with the roads.

So here we are on Friday (Jan. 14, 2010) and we read in the Livingston Press and Argus that the county commission plans to give $1.5 million to the Latson Road interchange project.

So the newspaper and the commissioners are admitting that the county commission DOES have a role in road construction in this county when it chooses to. And the conclusion is obvious that it has CHOSEN not to do a darn thing about the poor roads in the past.

The county commission didn't say where this $1.5 million for the Latson Road project is coming from and the reporter apparently didn't ask. My guess is it's coming from the deliquent tax revolving fund.

The article also is interesting because it draws a direct connection between county commission spending, or not spending, on roads and its foolish backing of sewer and water projects for private developers which have now gone belly-up and left the taxpayers holding the bag.

Commissioner Dave Domas didn't want to give the money to the road commission for the Latson Road interchange, only loan it to them. As the newspaper reported:

"Domas said the county must pay attention to several pressing financial issues, including accounting for township water and sewer special-assessment projects the county has backed with its credit rating. Several assessment projects have been built without expected development, which will leave the county responsible for paying them off if townships fail to."

In other words, Domas can see that county taxpayers are going to soon be getting a big bill for the county's borrowing to cover losses in these special assessment districts and he wants to have some money in reserve so that taxes don't have to be raised to pay off Wall Street.

Which is exactly what Democratic candidates were saying last fall.

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