Albion Recorder & Morning Star News

Road work: The top concern in two Jackson County townships

By Ken Wyatt

Roads and their crumbling fortunes were a hot item in the neighboring townships of Concord and Pulaski at this month’s board meetings. A summary of issues in both townships:

Concord Township Supervisor David Saenz presented the board with three options for spending the township’s minimal road budget in this summer’s construction this season. The discussion focused on the first two:

– Have the Jackson County Department of Transportation do skip-paving on all of Cornell and Allman roads this year, with a recommending follow-up next year of sealcoating.

– Do only Cornell Road with both skip-paving and sealcoating in the coming construction season.

After discussing the pros and cons of both proposals, the board went with the second option, which was proposed by Trustee Guthrie Colburn. His reasoning was that leaving the sealcoating to a subsequent year might risk the work never being done or done belatedly.

Pulaski Township faces similar tough choices – a small road budget and deciding how best to spend it. Much of Supervisor Chuck Todd’s report focused on Luttenton Road. It is not a primary road, but a secondary road. However, it is a heavily traveled road with a serious need for attention.

No one questioned that reasoning, but township funds are limited. With growing frustration over how funds are being spent by the county, Pulaski’s supervisor and Trustee Terry Meade plan to make a direct appeal to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners at next Tuesday’s meeting.

Meade wants to explore a more practical partnership with the county. The problem of bad roads affects both townships and county. But in a small, rural township like Pulaski, the common view is that the city and more populous townships get funds, while the smaller townships are always last to be funded.

 As an example of what township officials find unfair, he noted that in 2022 the county gave $208,000 from its marijuana sales tax revenue to Leoni Township for primary road projects. Over several years the county has received $2.4 million from the state in distributions of marijuana generated in Jackson County. Though Leoni has more marijuana businesses, Pulaski also has some. So why shouldn’t the county help Pulaski more with its crumbling secondary roads?

Pulaski wants to make its appeal on the basis of fairness but doesn’t want to pick a fight with the county. The way Meade sees it, it could benefit both the county and townships to come up with a more reasonable plan for fixing roads in the townships.

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