Local Road Improvements

Local Road Millage – Your Tax Dollars at Work

In November 2018, Farmington Hills voters passed a City Charter Amendment to Transition from Special Assessments as the primary means of funding neighborhood road construction to a Local Road Millage.

The Local Road Millage provides the funds used to improve the overall condition of neighborhood roads, which positively impacts the character of the community. Millage-funded projects are critical in counteracting local road deterioration, which can reduce property values and result in unsafe and hazardous road conditions. The adoption of the Charter Amendment and Local Road Millage was crucial to the City’s goal of transitioning away from the previous special assessment process.
The dedicated employees of the City’s Public Services Department and Public Works and Engineering Divisions are committed to the delivery of superior public services. These staff members play an integral role in designing, constructing, and maintaining local roads. Improved local road conditions help to attract and retain businesses, sustain residential and commercial property values, and preserve the City’s high quality of life.
Each year, the City publishes a Capital Improvement Plan. This plan identifies the list of local road projects planned in the next five years. These projects are subject to change and shift from year to year depending on current construction costs and pavement conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the local road millage?

The City currently maintains 299 miles of roadway, of which 219 miles are paved neighborhood streets (local roads). The City has undertaken studies using the standard Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) method to determine the condition of the public roads in the City. The PASER rating is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst condition and 10 being a new road. According to the most recent PASER Study performed in 2017, over 58% of the City’s local roads are in “poor” condition with a PASER rating of 4 or less. With the passage of the millage, the goal now is to improve the City’s overall average pavement condition on its local roads to a PASER rating between a 6.0 and 6.5 within the first ten years.

Why aren’t the taxes I pay enough to cover the cost for local road reconstruction?

Only about 33% of the taxes you currently pay stay with the City of Farmington Hills. The remaining 67% is paid out to the County and for Education. The City funds the vast majority of local road construction and maintenance utilizing revenue received from the State of Michigan under Act 51 (generated by fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees), not City General Fund dollars. These funds received by the City from the State are used to fund operational costs for the City’s Division of Public Works, which maintains the 299 miles of major and local roadways and storm sewer systems throughout the City. State and federal road funding is not keeping pace with the increased costs of maintaining our roads at acceptable levels, so the City continues to do more with less. The lack of road funding is becoming evident as the City’s overall pavement condition continues to decline.

How will the funding from the local road millage be used?

Approximately $8 million per year will be used toward the maintenance, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of neighborhood roads. In addition to that amount, $1 million per year will be set aside annually for paving gravel roads; the City has 21 miles of roads that are currently gravel. This gravel road conversion will only be considered in those neighborhoods where it is requested by a majority of the property owners. Additionally, as part of the process of transitioning from the SAD funding method to the local road millage funding method, a portion of the funding will be used to partly fund SAD-related debt retirement and special assessment refunds for SADs that were unexpired as of November 6, 2018.

Which roads will benefit?

Each year the City develops a five-year Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) that prioritizes local roads in need of reconstruction based upon a number of variables. The City will continue to utilize this CIP program and the roadways identified on the top of the list will be considered first for reconstruction using the local road millage funding. To see the copy of roadways or neighborhoods currently on the CIP, go to www.fhgov.com/localroadballotproposal and select Roadways or Neighborhoods Currently on the Capital Improvements Plan.

When will local road improvements begin?

The local road millage will be effective on the July 2019 summer tax bill. Local road improvements will be included in the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget and could begin as early as summer 2019.

How and why are roads chosen for reconstruction?

The pavement is rated by members of the City’s engineering staff, who are specially trained in evaluating pavement conditions. The City uses the services of an outside civil engineering consultant to review these ratings for quality assurance and quality control.
Local roads that are in poor condition can lead to unsafe driving conditions, have negative impacts on the appearance and value of properties, and cause expensive wear and tear on vehicles.
Reconstructed local roads that are in good condition will result in better pavement conditions, increased attractiveness in City neighborhoods, improved property values, and will help to attract and retain businesses.

To determine your investment in the Local Road Millage, please fill in the fields below: