Our most frequently asked questions and their answers are posted below.

QUESTION:  My property taxes go up every year, why doesn’t the Road Commission fix my road?

arrowThe Road Commission does not directly receive any property tax revenue. Most property tax revenue goes to the State of Michigan and local school districts to pay for school operations, while small amounts go to the County General Fund and Township government administration, with special voted millages going to fund certain functions like the library, Central Dispatch (911), and others.  If your Township has a road millage then your Township receives the taxed money and they pick and choose what road projects they want to complete during the year.  The Road Commission would then work directly with your township on completing the projects.  The only other tax money the Road Commission receives for road maintenance comes from the Michigan Transportation Fund administered by the State of Michigan. State collected fuel taxes, license fees, and vehicle registration fees make up most of this fund, which is divided by law among the 83 counties and 534 cities and villages, with the State keeping about forty percent for their programs. While these funds help us provide basic services such as grading gravel roads, pothole patching, and snow plowing, this level of funding doesn’t allow us to make significant improvements on most County Local Roads.  The Road Commission actively seeks State and Federal grant funds whenever available, and encourages participation in road improvement projects by other agencies and local Township Government. Unfortunately for most local roads, most grant programs target their funding to the main Primary County Roads, which in most cases are already paved and in fairly good condition, and most Townships operate on a modest budget that cannot provide the large amount of funds necessary to upgrade or pave many local roads.
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QUESTION: What is Otsego County Road Commission’s policy for mailbox damage? 

arrowMore often than not, damage to mailboxes is caused by snow pushing against weakened posts or hardware. Proper maintenance may help to prevent damage during winter maintenance operations. OCRC policy notes that if your mailbox is damaged, claimant must bring in the damaged mailbox.  The claimant must complete the Mailbox Claim Form.  The claimant may choose from the following options:  1) The Road Commission will provide a plain metal mailbox to replace the damaged mailbox and/or post or 2) cash payment for a mailbox ($10) and/or for a post ($7).  Installation of the mailbox and/or post is the responsibility of the claimant.
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QUESTION: People are always speeding on my road. How can I get the speed limit lowered and some signs put up to slow them down?

arrowThe Road Commission is the agency that installs and maintains all traffic signs on county roads. State law requires the Road Commission to follow the requirements of the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD). In order to install Regulatory type signs like no parking signs and speed limit signs, the Road Commission must initiate a traffic study of the road in conjunction with the Michigan State Police (MSP). The study includes a review of traffic counts, accident history, speed studies, the character of the area along the road, and any other information available regarding the problems in the area. While the Road Commission is a participant in the traffic study and analysis, the guidelines of the MMUTCD and judgment of the MSP largely determine what speed limit will be adopted. At the conclusion of the study the MSP issues a written Traffic Control Order directing the Road Commission to install specific signs at specific locations on the road, and to record the completed Traffic Control Order at the County Clerk’s office.
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QUESTION: Why is my road always the last one plowed after a snowstorm?

arrowThe Road Commission organizes snow plowing operations to service the most heavily traveled roadways first during and after a winter storm. Primary Roads are cleared first.  After those roads are passable, crews move on to clear local paved roads throughout the county. Typically, rural gravel roads are cleared after all other higher traffic roads.  While it is the Road Commission goal to make at least one pass on all local roads the day of the snow storm, our crews may begin plowing/salting several hours before the morning peak traffic, and continue operations into the night.   Extended winter storms or continuing winds may require crews to continually plow the main high traffic roads and prevent them from reaching subdivision streets or rural gravel roads each day. Weekend plowing of local roads is performed only when the roads are not passable.
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QUESTION: Do I need a permit for a new driveway even if I do the work myself?

arrowYes, a permit from the Road Commission is required anytime work is performed in the County road right of way. When you apply for a permit you are helping the Road Commission maintain safety for both yourself and the traveling public. Most traffic accidents occur at intersections or where vehicles are entering or leaving the roadway. The Road Commission inspects each proposed drive location to assure that adequate sight distance is available, to determine what drainage improvements might be necessary, and to review the site for other potential safety problems before a permit is issued. Although there is a nominal charge for a residential driveway permit, there is no permit fee for most other minor work in road right of way, although we require that all contractors follow accepted traffic safety procedures and furnish adequate insurance coverage to protect both the homeowner and the public.
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QUESTION: How can I get my road paved?

arrowThe level of funding provided to the Road Commission by law is not sufficient to pay for the initial paving of a road. Although Township government has no responsibility for road maintenance or improvement, and does not receive any road tax money, they have been very supportive of county roads over the years, and you may wish to contact them to see if they have any plans to improve your road in the future. You can also circulate a Petition to set up a special assessment district to improve your road. When signed by the owners of 51 percent or more of the frontage on a road such a petition authorizes the Township to set up a special assessment district, and hold public hearings regarding the proposed project. All properties accessing the road would share in the expense of the project as established by the special assessment district.
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QUESTION:  What are weight restrictions?

arrowWeight restrictions are legal limits placed on the loads trucks may carry. During late winter and early spring, when seasonal thawing occurs, the maximum allowable axle load and speed is reduced to prevent weather-related breakup of roads.
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QUESTION: How can I get a Children Playing sign put up to protect my children?

arrowThe Road Commission no longer places or maintains Children Playing signs, although there are still several of these signs scattered throughout our road system. Prior to the revision of the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) in 1983, these signs were acceptable for use on county roads. Studies done nationally leading up to that revision demonstrated conclusively that, while these signs may make parents and children feel safer, they have absolutely no effect on driver behavior, and do not slow traffic speeds as might be expected. To the extent that the signs might make parents or children think they are safer when the danger is still present, these signs can actually reduce safety. The best policy is still to be sure to keep children as far away from the road as possible, and don’t allow even older children to play in or near the road.
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QUESTION: Why do you spread tar and stone on the paved roads? There was nothing wrong with the road and now it is a mess?

arrowThe process is referred to as sealcoating which most road agencies in Michigan use as a relatively low cost method of preserving existing pavements. The tar is actually an emulsion of water and liquid asphalt which penetrates and seals small cracks in the existing pavement. Sealing these cracks on a regular basis prevents water from seeping into and softening the base of the road and over time causing potholes to form. The porous stone that we use to cover the asphalt emulsion sticks and, after rolling and sweeping, provides a slightly roughened skid resistant surface to improve safety. Although sealcoating can preserve and extend the life of the pavement, it is only a surface treatment and does not fill any existing bumps, holes, or irregularities and thus does not improve the ride quality. For this reason it is important to apply sealcoat to a road BEFORE this deterioration occurs, which leads us to sealcoat roads that are in generally good condition rather than waiting for them to deteriorate to the point that extensive patching is necessary.
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QUESTION:  What is the Road Commission Right-of-Way?

arrowThe width of the road right-of-way can vary a great deal.  In general, the Road Commission right-of-way is typically 66 feet wide, approximately 33 feet on both sides of the section/survey line (which typically corresponds with the roadway centerline).  If the property owner needs to identify where the limits of the road right-of-way are or needs true locations of their property lines, a professional surveying/engineering company should be hired.
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QUESTION:  There is a dead deer on the side of the road…

arrowThe Otsego County Road Commission will only move deer carcasses in the county right-of-way that present a driving hazard.
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