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

The 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 mileages 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 proceeds and decides what road projects to complete during the year. The Road Commission works directly with townships 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 about forty percent used for state transportation 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 through cooperation with other agencies and local township government. Unfortunately for most local roads, many grant programs target funding to the main Primary County Roads, which in most cases are already paved and in fairly good condition. The majority of townships operate on a modest budget and cannot provide the large amount of funds necessary to upgrade or pave many local roads.


Vehicles are always speeding on my road. How can I get the speed limit lowered and some signs put up to slow them down?

The 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 such as 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.


How can I get my road paved?

The 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.


Why do you spread tar and stone on the paved roads? There was nothing wrong with the road and now it is a mess?

The process is referred to as sealcoating, which many 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.


What is the Road Commission Right-of-Way?

The 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 roadway centerline (which typically corresponds with the section/survey line). 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.


What is Alcona County Road Commission’s policy for mailbox damage?

The Road Commission does not install or replace mailboxes damaged or alleged to be damaged during road maintenance operations; however, once a claim has been filed, and following verification the damage was caused by direct impact of road commission equipment to the mailbox, a voucher for standard replacement materials will be issued on the requestor’s behalf to one of the retail establishments in Alcona County with which the Road Commission has an agreement to supply such materials. The requesting party can then go to the retail establishment at their own convenience to pick up the necessary replacement materials. Regardless of what kind of mailbox was originally in place, only the following materials will be offered: 1 standard silver metal mailbox, 1 4x4x8 treated post, 1 2×6 top board, 2 lag bolts, 6 screws. The requesting party may apply the value of the standard replacement materials to replacement materials of their choice, but must pay any difference in cost themselves. For information about installing and maintaining mailboxes, please refer to the Road Commission’s Mailbox brochure available by request at (989) 736-8168 or


Why is my road always the last one plowed after a snowstorm?

We plow primary roads first, secondary roads second, and roads in subdivisions third. Due to our limited resources, it can take up to 3 days before we can plow subdivision roads and lesser traveled local roads. During snow storms that have heavy accumulations or have accumulations over several days, it could take even longer to clear subdivision roads. Follow this link to our “Alcona County Map” with a listing of roads and their classification.


When is an Alcona County Road Commission permit necessary, and how do I go about applying for one?

A permit is necessary any time a property owner, contractor, municipality, etc. will be performing work within the Alcona County Road Commission road right of way. For private property owners, the most common types of permits are driveway permits, right of way permits, ditch closure permits, and land divisions. These four items are explained in more detail in our “Policies/Procedures” page. For developers, municipalities, and commercial type entities, there are many other types of permits that are necessary depending on the proposed work. All permits are available at the Alcona County Road Commission office, but can be downloaded from the “Permits” page of the web site to fill out the paperwork in advance.