5/1/23: Road blocks

Monday, May 1, 2023

High 39°/Low 35° Rain/snow

Construction season is getting underway this week. Find out where the traffic delays will be. Also: Voters will decide on four big issues in Kalamazoo County tomorrow. And tax credit checks could still get a boost this year under legislation being considered in Lansing.

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New road projects to cause backups in Kzoo County

It’s officially roadwork season in Kalamazoo County. Several major projects will get underway today in different areas of the county.

One of the busiest roads in the county, Sprinkle Road, is being completely rebuilt with a new storm sewer and improvements to the ramps connecting it with I-94. Traffic between Kilgore Road and I-94 will be completely cut off for the three-week duration of the project. Even after that, traffic will be reduced to one lane each way until late June.

Another three week project will repave a 4-mile stretch of M-96 between Galesburg and Augusta. That $1.1 million project is being funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and is expected to wrap up by May 19.

A much bigger project is getting underway today on U.S. 131 on the southern edge of the county. The plan is to rebuild the highway between Schoolcraft in Kalamazoo County and Three Rivers in St. Joseph County. MDOT said it intends to keep traffic moving in both directions, though delays and detours may be necessary. The $51 million project is expected to take two years.

Finally, another two-year project is beginning in Portage. This one will resurface and add improvements to Shaver Road from the southern city line to Vanderbilt Avenue. The first phase of construction will affect traffic from the border to Oakland Drive and aims to wrap up by mid-June. The second phase will happen next year and continue the project from Oakland Drive to Vanderbilt Avenue. The $3.8 million project is being funded mostly by the city with additional funds coming from the federal government.

More News You Need To Know

School, fire department on the ballot

Tomorrow’s election is a small one compared to the big votes that happen every November. But voters will still weigh in on several issues with big local impacts. In most of Kalamazoo County, voters will get to decide on whether to renew a millage to fund the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA). The intermediate school district is asking voters to renew a 1.5 mill property tax to fund operating expenses. If passed, the renewal would be in effect six years, raising about $14 million in its first year.

Climax-Scotts Community Schools is asking voters to extend its current millage rate a little bit longer. Currently, the 1.99 mills of tax is set to expire in 2039. The proposal would keep it going until 2053, allowing the district to borrow about $16.2 million to fund various building improvements.

Gull Lake Community Schools is asking voters to raise the district’s non-homestead millage rate from 17.7769 mills to a solid 18 mills. The increase would allow the district to avoid automatic rollbacks required by state law. Because it’s a non-homestead millage, it would only affect vacation and rental homes, some vacant land, and commercial/industrial properties.

Cooper Township wants voters to help fund its fire department. The special assessment would allow the township to build a new fire station to replace its current Fire Station 2, which has outlived its usefulness. It would also allow the department to buy a new fire truck. If voters approve the assessment, the township will hold special meetings to determine exactly how much that would be. [MLive]

Lawmakers vote to boost tax credit this year

Low income families in Michigan could get checks yet this year if plans to boost the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) pass through the legislature. The plan to increase the credit from 6% of the federal level to 30% has already passed, but it wouldn’t go into effect until next year due to disputes between Republicans and Democrats in the legislature. A procedural motion earlier this year failed to get a super-majority of votes needed to put it into effect immediately, so lawmakers are revisiting the issue.

Under the changed rate, a family of four in Michigan could get a one-time check of over $2,000. If the current proposal doesn’t pass, the increased rate wouldn’t take effect until next year. “It affects the welfare and well-being of over a million children in our state,” said state Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet, D-Bay City. The Senate passed the bill last week, leaving it to the House to put it into action. The plan reverses a tax overhaul signed by then-Governor Rick Snyder in 2011 that reduced the EITC in order to cut taxes on businesses. [Michigan Radio]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Jazz with Barry Ross, Violin, Terry Lower, Jazz Piano – Martell’s
5:30PM 5/2

Fiddler on the Roof – Miller Auditorium
7:00PM 5/2

Trivia night – Shakespeare’s Pub
7:00PM 5/2

Trivia night – Louie’s Trophy House
7:00PM 5/2

Built To Spill w/ Itchy Kitty, Prism Bitch – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/2

African American Quilt Display – Kalamazoo Public Library, Eastwood
1:00PM 5/3

Board Game Night – Niskers Bar
6:00PM 5/3

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 5/3

Calvin Hinds Live – Maestro’s Pizza
7:00PM 5/3

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 5/3

See more upcoming events here.

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