by STEVE GRIMM Cannon Township Supervisor On Tuesday, Aug. 7, the voters in Michigan participated in a primary election. Though it was only a primary, in our area the result meant that the victors would prevail in the general election this November, because for most races, there is no competition in the general election. It is always interesting to dissect the numbers in any election, but particularly in a primary. For example, in some townships, voter turnout averaged at or below 20 percent of all registered voters. In Cannon, which had the highest turnout in the area, those voting in the six precincts averaged just under 26 percent of eligible voters. No precinct was below 22 percent. The highest voter turnout was in precinct three, which encompasses the west side of Lake Bella Vista, where voter turnout was 32 percent. These numbers contrast with precincts in some neighboring townships, where voter turnout in contested races was as low as 15 percent in some precincts. Why Cannon’s turnout is so much higher than surrounding areas is not completely clear. As an incumbent, I like to think it is because voters want to express their satisfaction with the way things are going. This view, at least in part, is supported by the numbers. In some townships in our area, well publicized issues regarding negative opinions of township management, real or imagined, permeated the news. In those townships, voter turnout was lowest. Cannon is a very well run township. We listen to the residents both at board meetings and by including them in committees. We have taken a conservative approach to spending, which has added over 500,000 dollars to our general fund balance. We aggressively tackle issues before they become problems, and we have required that our employees and elected officials who receive health benefits pay 20 percent of the costs associated with that coverage, even though we are not mandated to do so by the state. Given the results of the last election, it appears that that success is not lost on the voters. So, to those who did vote, thank you, and we will continue to listen.
Cannon Township Supervisor
Many local elections will be decided during the primary elections held on Tuesday, August 7 in the cases where candidates are of the same political party. The following are those who filed to run at the time The Rockford Squire began sending out notices asking for information on each of the candidates. Additional information may now be available at the website accesskent.com. For State Representative for the 73rd District, the Republican candidate is Peter MacGregor, of Rockford, incumbent, and the Democratic candidate is G. Scott Schuiling, also of Rockford. The term ends 2014. Peter F. MacGregor State Representative 73rd District Incumbent Peter F. MacGregor, Republican incumbent running for re-election as state representative for the 73rd District has been a resident of his district for 16 years. He provided the Squire with the following information: “I serve as the current state representative. I have served a year-and-a-half in this position. Prior to this role, I served as the Cannon Township supervisor for six years and Cannon Township trustee for four years. “As a former business owner and job provider, as well as a local elected official, I have the experience to create efficiencies in state government through public policy and pass legislation to improve the overall business environment of our state. I have voted and co-sponsored several important reforms including an income tax cut for all taxpayers, cut legislator pay and health benefits, cut my office budget by 18 percent, eliminated lifetime welfare benefits, and eliminated the job-killing Michigan Business Tax (MBT), to name a few. Additionally, I am accessible to my constituency, holding bi-weekly district office hours and open to hearing from everyone in my district. “I ran for office to contribute to the betterment of our state. I want to make Michigan a place where my boys and all our children can find gainful employment and raise a family. We’ve made great strides in accomplishing this, but there is much more to do and I want to continue to be part of the solution. “While serving on the appropriations committee, we passed a balanced state budget two years in a row and four months ahead of schedule. I want to continue to find efficiencies in our state spending and continue to pass legislation to […]
by STEVE GRIMM Cannon Township Supervisor On March 28, 2011, the Cannon Township Board unanimously approved a new contract with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. Under the new contract Cannon pays for a 12-hour shift, replacing the two eight-hour shifts for which we were previously paying. At the time this was implemented, our concern was our ability to maintain the level of service with the diminished hours. While there has been no significant diminution in criminal activity in Cannon Township this year, there has also been no diminution in our ability to handle it. In other words, cutting our dedicated law enforcement hours from 16 hours per day to 12 made no difference in the level of service. By decreasing the hours and maintaining the level of service, we have saved the taxpayers over $75,000 per year. Based on these numbers, the Sheriff’s Dept. has told us that at present, there is no need to increase the hours back to 16. These results are very interesting, and inspirational to those who favor leaner government with no diminution in service. One area we did not reduce was supplemental patrols, which provide extra coverage in the summer. We extended that coverage to Rockford home game nights and Halloween. The extra patrols are staggered during the summer to maximize visibility and deterrence. One of the discussions that have taken place is paying for law enforcement with a millage versus the use of the township’s general fund monies. Millage monies would be used by the Sheriff’s Department without any control or input from the township. If general fund monies are dedicated for the Sheriff’s Department, the township can specify how those monies are to be allocated. The township spends $231,000 for the 12-hour shift coverage. The Board believes that taxes are high enough without adding another millage for law enforcement, which is the most basic service a township should provide. Recently, there were several break-ins of cars in the Bella Vista area. The sheriff’s dispatch received a call regarding suspicious activity in the early morning hours when an overtime car was in the area. The quick response of the overtime car resulted in the identification of a suspect. According to Lt. Scott Brown, the subsequent investigation led to charges […]
Thank you, Chris James by STEVE GRIMM Cannon Township Supervisor Several weeks ago, Chris James, who became Cannon Township Zoning Administrator in 1996, decided to retire, effective September 7, 2012. Prior to becoming Zoning Administrator, she served the township as planning coordinator, served on the Board of Review, and was an election precinct chairperson. She has also served as the secretary to the North Kent Sewer Authority since 1999, and deputy supervisor. Prior to joining the township, Chris lived in many different states, and brought those experiences to Cannon. From the beginning, Chris’ main job has been to say “no.” This has often rubbed people the wrong way, but such is the lot of a zoning administrator. Her job has been to enforce ordinances with which she often disagreed. On the other hand, she always put forth her best efforts to seek a solution which satisfied all parties. Many times, this was impossible and Chris was blamed for the inability to reach a resolution. She never complained and was willing to place that dissatisfaction on her shoulders. Needless to say, she has developed very broad shoulders. She never turned down even the most mundane tasks, including, believe it or not, laundry. Every week she washes the township office’s dish cloths and towels without complaint. Her coworkers knew when she was upset about something because she would start cleaning with the same zeal she applied to her real jobs. Chris and her husband are returning to their beloved Kentucky to enjoy their retirement and be with family. Her husband Connie is going to play golf, and Chris is looking forward to watching her “boys in blue” University of Kentucky basketball team, rocking babies at the Children’s Hospital, and becoming involved in community theater where her thespian talents will serve her well. Cannon Township has received many resumes and is considering Chris’ replacement, though that may not be possible. Thank you, Chris.
by STEVE GRIMM Cannon Township Supervisor The Cannon Township Board has always focused on being open and transparent in the conduct of your business. When I became supervisor in January 2011, the Board allowed public comment in the beginning of every board meeting, and every person was allowed three minutes to comment. As of my first meeting as supervisor, we added public comment at the end of each meeting and removed the time limit. I have always felt that there should be no limit in Cannon Township on free speech, and if something was important enough for someone to take the time to come to a meeting, they should not be limited in the amount of time they have. We have said, however, that if a person has five minutes of something to say, they should to do it in five minutes, not six or ten. We recently had over a hundred people at a board meeting when we were considering a revision to the Special Land Use Ordinance for recreational areas in Cannon Township, like, but not limited to, Cannonsburg Ski Area. Everyone at the meeting had an opportunity to address the Board, and everyone, without exception, had something meaningful to say. That was a very important moment for our township, because it proved that the changes I mentioned above work very, very well. Everyone was courteous and respectful, and the Board appreciated every word that was said. As a result of this exercise in representative democracy, the Board was able to glean very important information and pass our concerns on to the Planning Commission for analysis and input. The Planning Commission then appointed a subcommittee to analyze those concerns. Then a subcommittee of the Board met with representatives of the Planning Commission, and came up with a very good ordinance, as well as an amended Outdoor Assembly ordinance. Best of all, we had input and advice from interested citizens in the subcommittee as well. In Cannon Township, we realize that the collective wisdom of her residents far outweighs that of her Board. Taking things one step further, we recently changed the make-up of our sewer committee to include a board member who actually pays a sewer bill, Deb Diepenhorst, as well as residents […]