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Grand Haven Twp. voters renew transportation millage

Alex Doty • Mar 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Voters renewed a transportation services millage in the township for another five years.

The proposal was approved by a 72.1 percent to 27.9 percent vote. It renews Grand Haven Township’s transportation millage for up to 0.95 mill for five years, through 2020. For a $200,000 home, or a taxable value of $100,000, it would cost $95 a year.

The main benefactor of the millage is Harbor Transit, which provides on-demand bus service for township residents, as well as residents living in the City of Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, Spring Lake Village and Spring Lake Township — a service area of almost 55 square miles.

“We’re very pleased with the results,” Harbor Transit Director Tom Manderscheid said. “We look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Grand Haven Township.”

Since the Grand Haven Township transportation millage was first implemented, it’s estimated that about 63 percent of the money collected — about $1.8 million — has been used to support Harbor Transit service in the township.

Harbor Transit officials say the township had a ridership of 31,928 in 2012, its first full year of service. For 2015, the ridership within the township jumped to 54,780 — an increase of about 62 percent over the past three calendar years. Rides originating in Grand Haven Township account for about 24 percent of the total number of rides provided by Harbor Transit.

Property tax collections account for about one-third of Harbor Transit’s revenue source. Grand Haven Township is the largest contributor, bringing in about $395,000 toward the bus service’s 2016-17 budget.

The rest of the millage money will fund township street maintenance projects. Manderscheid said he sees the renewal as a “vote of confidence” in the transit service and the public’s desire to improve streets — both issues he called noble causes.

There are approximately 23 miles of primary roads, 43 miles of local roads (of which about 19 miles are gravel), and 40 miles of subdivision roads in the township, for a total of about 106 miles of streets and roads.

Since 2012, the township has supplemented the work of the Ottawa County Road Commission by resurfacing almost 16 miles of streets, re-graveling about 4 miles of rural roads, and crack-sealing 29.5 miles of roadways. The township currently has the highest average rating of roadways in Ottawa County.

“We thank our residents in Grand Haven Township and the voters who went out and voted for (the renewal),” Manderscheid said.

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