Resident Information

Water & Sewer Online Payments

The Ottawa County Road Commission accepts both online and in person for payment for your water/sewer bill. A 3% convenience fee will be automatically added to your order total for credit card payments.

Reminder: This form is for making a payment for your water/sewer bill in Ottawa County, Michigan.

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Resident FAQs

General

How does the Road Commission receive funding?

There are four pieces of revenue sources that make up the financial puzzle for the OCRC:

Michigan Transportation Fund
State and Federal Sources
Countywide Road Millage
Township Contributions

The main and largest revenue source for the OCRC comes from the State of Michigan through Public Act 51 of 1951. Michigan PA 51 guides the State in the collection and disbursement of the fuel tax, vehicle registration, and vehicle weight taxes that are deposited in the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF).

The funds the OCRC receives from the MTF are primarily utilized to maintain the county’s state-certified road system. PA 51 further defines how funds are distributed to and spent by road agencies, and classifies them as either Primary Roads — higher traffic volume roadways that balance mobility and land access — or Local Roads, lower traffic volume roads that provide limited mobility, and provide access to residential areas, businesses, and farms.

Understanding Road Funding

How do I make a service request?

Service requests can be made by calling our main office during normal business hours, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at (616) 842-5400. You can also use the online service request form on our website.

The online service request form is simple to use. Provide your name, email, telephone number, address, township, approximate location, and an explanation of the issue or request. The request is then forwarded on to the appropriate department for investigation and resolution.

Usually within a few days, a response is given to the requestor or the service has been performed.

Submit a Service Request

What do I do if my mailbox is damaged?

If a mailbox is damaged by Road Commission equipment or snow thrown from Road Commission equipment during winter maintenance operations, the property owner may receive a new standard mailbox and/or a single 4”x4” wood post at one of the garage locations.

The property owner is responsible to remove the damaged mailbox/post and to install the replacement mailbox/post.

The locations are open Monday through Friday, except on holidays or observed holidays established by the Board. Appointments are made between the hours of 7:30AM and 3:30PM. Please call (616) 842-5400 for an appointment.

The property owner shall provide either the actual damaged mailbox/post or a photo of the actual damaged mailbox/post before a new standard mailbox and/or a single 4”x4” wood post can be issued. Upon receipt of a new mailbox and/or post, the property owner shall sign a register and provide the property address.

Mailbox Damage & Replacement Policy

What should I keep in mind when shoveling/plowing driveways?

Homeowners are responsible for removing snow in front of their driveways.

Be aware that shoveling or plowing snow from driveways onto or across roads is illegal (Act 82 of 1978, vehicle code 257.677A) because it can present a serious traffic hazard to motorists.

Instead, pile the snow behind the curb or shoulder on your side of the road. Be sure to place snow to the right as you face the road, so plows will push it away from, rather back into, the driveway entrance. It is also important to avoid vision obstructions. Care should be taken not to impede the flow of stormwater from melting snow in the ditches or culverts.

Citizens should also make certain that their trash containers are not placed too close to the edge of the road before snow removal has taken place, and should also know that it is the responsibility of the property owner to keep areas in front of mailboxes clear for mail delivery.

Traffic & Safety

Will a stop sign slow down traffic on my street?

Stop signs installed at the wrong place for the wrong purpose usually create more problems than they solve. One common misuse of stop signs is to arbitrarily interrupt traffic, either by causing it to stop or by causing such an inconvenience that motorists are forced to use other routes.

Traffic studies indicate that there is a high incidence of intentional violations where stop signs are installed as “nuisances” or “speed breakers.” The studies also show that drivers increase their speeds between unwarranted stop signs to make up for the lost time. Based on these studies and the increased speeds of drivers on streets with unwarranted stop signs, the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) clearly states that “Stop signs shall not be used for speed control.”

A stop sign placed at the right place and under the right conditions, tells drivers and pedestrians who has the right of way.

Can a speed bump be placed on my street?

A speed bump is a bump of asphalt about a foot wide, 3 to 4 inches high, and placed laterally across the traveled portion of the road. However, the speed bump poses as an increased hazard to motorists, the cause of an undesirable increase in noise, and a real problem for snow removal.

The purpose of a speed bump is to make the ride over it uncomfortable for the driver, encouraging him/her to reduce their speed. With the various vehicle suspensions and wheel bases, the speed bump has shown an inability to successfully control speeds.

Speed bumps can cause maintenance problems to any vehicle and increase response time for emergency services. Because speed bumps have considerable potential for liability suits, Michigan has officially rejected them as a standard traffic control device on public streets.

The control of speeding in neighborhoods is a widespread concern which requires compliance by residents, patience and persistent effort by law enforcement – not speed bumps.

Can I place Handicap, Deaf, Blind, Special Needs Child, or Pedestrian Area warning signs on my street?

The use of Handicap, Deaf, Blind, Special Needs Child, or Pedestrian Area warning signs is limited to situations and locations meeting approval of the Ottawa County Road Commission.

Requests for such signs shall be made in writing and include a physician’s certification/letter indicating extent of handicap. The requesting party will also need to advise the Road Commission on an annual basis as to the continued need of these warning signs.

The number and location of these warning signs will be determined by the Road Commission and generally will be limited to the roadway serving the handicap person’s residence.

The installation cost will be the responsibility of the requesting resident and all costs to maintain sign(s) will be paid by the Road Commission.

Can a Children at Play sign be placed on my street?

At first consideration, it might seem that a Children at Play sign would provide some safety for youngsters playing in a neighborhood. Unfortunately, this type of sign encourages parents to believe that children have an added degree of protection; which the signs do not and cannot provide.

Studies have shown that this type of sign provides no evidence of reducing pedestrian crashes or vehicles speeds. Obviously, children should not be encouraged to play in the roadway. The Children at Play sign is a direct and open suggestion that it is acceptable to do so.

Federal standards discourage the use of this sign and they are not even recognized in Michigan’s traffic sign manuals. As an alternative, the Road Commission strives to remove vision obstructions to provide a safe roadway for both pedestrians and motorists.

Can I get a Deer Crossing sign installed on my road?

Because deer crossing signs have shown to be of little or no value in reducing motor vehicle/deer crashes and the scattered nature of the problem, we do not inventory or install these signs nor do we allow the installation of these signs within the public right of way by others.

Permitting

What is a right-of-way encroachment?

Michigan law prohibits the placement of any object, except authorized mailbox mountings, within the county road right of way unless that object is permitted by the Road Commission.

In many instances, property owners or contractors place fences, rocks/boulders, trees/shrubs, earthwork (including berms), signs, or other objects within the road right of way as a measure of improving landscape. However, these fixed objects often become hazards to errant motorists, vision obstructions, or interfere with road and public utility improvements.

The Road Commission asks for everyone’s cooperation in keeping the road right of way free of all potential hazards and future road and conflicts with public utility improvement.

Right-of-Way Encroachment Policy

Why are concrete drive approaches only permitted on curbed roads?

Safe Environment - On shouldered roads, rigid concrete driveways located in the shoulder of the road can pose safety risks to our maintenance staff and cause equipment damage. Our operators need to grade shoulders in the summer and plow in the winter. Flexible asphalt driveways minimize impacts to both our drivers and equipment. Curbed roads do not have shoulders that are graded or plowed.

Efficient and Cost-Effective Restoration - The restoration of concrete driveways with concrete is not very efficient or cost-effective for the Road Commission as compared to asphalt for the following reasons:

  • It takes much longer to saw cut, excavate, and remove concrete driveways that need adjusting versus the time it takes to mill an asphalt driveway.
  • In order to maintain access for the property owner, concrete driveways are often required to be poured half width at a time, where asphalt can be placed the full driveway  width.
  • Concrete can take up to 28 days to fully cure, where asphalt can be driven on the same day. In most cases, asphalt driveways can be placed at the same time the contractor is paving the lane of the road.
  • There is an additional expense for concrete testing and quality assurance.

Curbed roads are milled and resurfaced, therefore it is not necessary to change the driveway approach.

REMINDER—A permit MUST be obtained from the OCRC in order to construct, reconstruct, relocate, surface or resurface a driveway or private road approach adjoining a road within the Road Commission’s ROW.

When is a permit required for work within the right-of-way?

A permit is required from the Road Commission for any and all work being conducted within the road right of way, whether it is by a contractor or a property owner. Permit applications and information are available on our Special Services Department website.

Some examples of work that require a permit are:

  • Adding or improving a driveway approach
  • Adding, improving, or maintaining a public or private utility
  • Adding or improving a sidewalk or non-motorized path
  • Excavating/filling roadside ditches
  • Surveying and other engineering operations
  • Placing a banner, decoration, or similar object
  • Closing a section of county road for a parade, celebration, festival, bike/run event, demonstration, or similar activity
  • Grading or excavation, landscaping, tree planting, tree trimming or tree removal
  • Any construction activity that impacts storm water runoff into or around county road right of way.

Standard mailboxes are allowed without a permit in the road right of way.

Where and what type of mailbox can be installed in the right of way?

The location and construction of mailboxes shall conform to the rules and regulations of the U.S. Postal Service and the following Ottawa County Road Commission standards. These standards are based on guidelines established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

LOCATION

The roadside face of the mailbox shall be offset 8 inches from the outside edge of the road shoulder. On curbed streets, the roadside face of the mailbox shall be set back 8 inches from the face of the curb. On residential streets without curbs, or on all-weather shoulders which carry low-traffic volumes and which operate at low speeds, the roadside face of a mailbox shall be offset 24 inches behind the edge of the pavement. Where guardrail is present the mailbox shall be placed behind the guardrail with the face of the box even with the back of the rail. Where a mailbox is located at an intersecting road, it shall be located a minimum of 100 feet from the intersection.

STRUCTURE

Mailboxes shall be constructed of sheet metal, plastic or similar weight materials, with weight not to exceed 11 lbs. No more than two mailboxes may be mounted on a support structure unless the support structure and mailbox arrangement meet American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standards. However, lightweight newspaper boxes may be mounted below the mailbox on the side of the mailbox support or on a separate post alongside. A single 4-inch x 4-inch or 4-1/2-inch diameter wooden post or a metal post with strength no greater than a 2-inch diameter standard strength steel pipe and embedded no more than 24 inches into the ground will be acceptable as a mailbox support. Mailbox supports shall not be fitted with an anchor plate (metal post) nor shall they be set in concrete. The post-to-box attachment details should be of sufficient strength to prevent the box from separating from the top post if the installation is struck by a vehicle.

VIOLATIONS

Any mailbox that is in violation of these regulations shall be immediately removed by the owner upon notification by the road commission. If the owner has not removed the mailbox, the road commission, in accordance with M.S.A. 9.251, will issue the owner an Encroachment Removal Order, whereupon the owner will be granted 30 days to remove the unacceptable mailbox. Thereafter, the mailbox will be removed by the Road Commission at the owner’s expense.