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Township Election

Blackberry Township road referendum fails

BLACKBERRY TOWNSHIP – Rod Feece said he was "very disappointed" to learn that a referendum targeting funds for road repairs in Blackberry Township had failed.

Feece, the township's highway commissioner, said the roads still will need to be repaired, and that the referendum's defeat means that there won't be a significant improvement. He said he will have to see whether another referendum would be attempted in spring 2014.

"We're not positive we'll put one on [in 2014]," Feece said.

The referendum asked residents to approve raising the limiting tax rate for the township road district from 16.5 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation to 30.26 cents. According to unofficial results Tuesday, 623 voted against the referendum, and 300 voted for it. Feece had said a person with a home worth $300,000 would pay about $140 more a year in taxes if the referendum would have been approved.

Feece had said the referendum would have changed the road resurfacing schedule from once every half a century to once every eight to 10 years. Now, he said, the roads will keep getting worse, and there will be significant deterioration to some roads.

"We're getting to spots now where we're going to have to start total reconstruction," Feece said.

He said the township is responsible for maintaining 58 miles of roadway. As it is, he said, the township can pave less than two miles in a year. Feece has said the township needs to pave more than four miles of road in the next year.

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