The City streets are maintained by money from the gas tax and license plates received from the State of Michigan. The funds are provided in two categories--Major Streets and Local Street. The State requires that the City keep detailed records on how the funds are spent. Local Street funds may be spent on Major Streets but only 25% of the Major Street Funds can be transferred to Local Streets. In addition, the City of Alma allocates .13 mills of local property tax money for Local Streets. The citizens of Alma approved 2.50 mills to be used for street improvement. The Neighborhood Street Rehabilitation millage was passed for the fifth time in November 2006.
The City Engineering staff inventories all City streets to determine which streets need major improvements. Each street is given a condition rating, which evaluates pavement condition, drainage, etc. The worst streets are determined from the inventory and put on a list. The list is reviewed the City Manager and the City Engineer. Their recommendation is submitted to the City Commission for their review and approval. Once a final list of streets is determined, they are put on the list for the Neighborhood Street Rehabilitation Program and voter approval.
Many streets are maintained by using a seal coating process. Seal coating injects hot tar in the cracks of the streets. Loose gravel is then added to fill in the cracks. The seal coat process can extend the life of a street by five years. It does not fix the underlying problem but it does improve the street surface. By seal coating streets the City can maintain the condition of the street until more funding is available to rehabilitate the street.