Sterling Heights considering one-time tax increase to fix roads

Sterling Heights is one of many cities across the state that's in a state of disrepair after our latest winter wreaked havoc on the roads. Potholes are pretty much everywhere.

The City is hoping it can take road repairs into its own hands. City Council hopes residents will foot the bill with a one-time tax increase. 

The Council understands the frustration and, like everyone else, wants a smoother drive from here on out. That's why their latest proposed budget includes a one-time road improvement tax that'll have residents dishing out about $92. Money well spent, though, according to the mayor.

"We're not going to jeopardize police, firefighters or underground infrastructure or any of the other priorities we have to in order fix the roads, so, we have to come up with another funding source and this is the way to do it," Mayor Michael Taylor says. 

The tax would raise about $4.2 million and would help fix some of the worst stretches of roads in Sterling Heights, like the stretch of Schoenherr Road from Plumbrook to 19 Mile; 15 Mile from Maple Lane to Schoenherr; 17 Mile from Van Dyke to Utica; 19 Mile from Hayes to Schoenherr; Utica Road from Schoenherr to Van Dyke; and some repairs on Metro Parkway. 

While most believe more funding is fundamental, who should foot the bill isn't as clear cut. From the drivers in Sterling Heights we talked to, the proposal has mixed reviews. 

"They already get thousands of dollars every year, what's $92 per resident going to do? Are you going to make sure that my $92 fixes this square. Nope," says Patrick Trautman.

"So, if we don't pay the money, then the roads are just gonna fall apart and we're gonna ride on dirt roads? I mean, it should be fixed for free," says Rob Kimpe. 

"It's not all about how much money the how much the state has; it's about the weather that's hitting the roads," says Joe Stadler. "I think it might be a good one time thing see if it does anything."

We're told the money from the one mill increase, combined with cash from the county, state and federal government, would add up to some $12 million that would really put the gas on road repairs in Macomb County. 

The City Council will discuss the proposal at its budget meeting Tuesday night at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. It's the first of three workshops to discuss the proposed road repair tax.  

The mayor adds that the first time this will likely come up for a vote won't be until May.