September 10, 2022 at 10:17 p.m.
More Debate on calcium chloride
We live in a Township that has nearly 40 miles of gravel road maintained by the Township and many more miles of gravel road that the Township does not maintain. Gravel roads and their problems, especially the problem of dust, are no surprise to any property owner here in the North.
In the August 23, 2022 edition of the Pine Cone Press-Citizen there was a letter to the Editor from Jack Melby on the topic of calcium chloride and dust control on gravel roads in Woodrow Township. Mr. Melby’s property is on a gravel road. Mr. Melby previously presented all the points of his letter to the Town Board and his information was considered in the Board’s decision making process.
Many of the statements made by Mr. Melby are true, some are questionable, and some are untrue. The statement that “Dust suppressants are currently paid for by county residents via their property taxes yet Woodrow Township refuses to use it” is one that is not true. The annual road maintenance budget for Woodrow Township is proposed by the Board at the Township Annual Meeting and includes amounts for chloride for only three specific roads. When approved by the Township residents at the Annual Meeting, that budget becomes part of the basis for property taxes and chloride is funded for those three roads.
The Woodrow Town Board uses chloride according to the Cass County traffic guideline as adopted by the Cass County Board of Commissioners. As stated, only three Township Roads currently meet the traffic guideline for use of chloride.
The amount budgeted for those three roads was included in road expenses, about $19,000.00 for 6 miles of road (2022). To chloride the remaining 32 plus miles of the Township’s gravel roads, property taxes for the Township would need to be increased by more than $101,000 (2022), a total annual expense for chloride alone of more than $120,000.00.
The significance of the traffic guideline used is that a cost benefit point was calculated by both the County and State. It was adopted by the Township and it indicated that three roads in the Township could be treated to minimize road maintenance expense. That is its intended purpose, as correctly pointed out by Mr. Melby.
On other roads without the traffic volume considered by the guideline, the corresponding loss of gravel does not occur at a scale to cause the dust pollution problems named by Mr. Melby. In his letter, Mr. Melby himself correctly states that “I don’t think any township road has that kind of traffic.” Only three Woodrow roads have the traffic to justify the cost of treatment.
Mr. Melby’s letter leaves little doubt as to his opinion on chloride. Many in the Township, including neighbors on his same road, do not share his view. Many residents oppose use of chloride and have commented to the Board on its negative effects and the downside of putting any chemical on the road. Those negative effects of chemicals are minimized in Mr. Melby’s letter. The Board notes that even on the three treated roads, not all property owners on the roads favor use of chloride.
Many residents and Mr. Melby have pointed out studies favoring their views. At least one study states that chlorides can be cumulative and can cause long-term changes in the ecologies of our lakes. Duties of the Supervisors include consideration of the long-term effects of their actions on water resources in the Township and believe it is appropriate to limit the use of chlorides.
As Supervisors, we have tried our utmost to make responsible decisions and to respect the wishes of our Township Residents. In this matter, by limiting the Township’s use of chlorides, we believe the Board continues to respond to the wishes of the majority of the Residents of Woodrow Township and to our responsibility to future generations.
From the Supervisors of Woodrow Township,
Gordon Reher, Woodrow Township Road Liaison
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