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.
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 […]
Reader’s letter a ‘misdiagnosis’ Dear Editor, Dr. Jorgensen’s misdiagnosis of Lake Bella Vista politics needs a history lesson. In his July 26 letter, he doesn’t say anything about the last-minute flyer that was distributed to Lake Bella Vista in the 2000 election that scared voters into believing that they would lose their water. This information was not true then and it is not true now. Here are the facts: 1) Back then the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) Water Quality Dept. asked for a study. All private systems required approval by the DEQ and Cannon was asking to approve a fourth system for the Sunfish Lake development. 2) The town board approved $5,000 for the study of a community water system. 3) In a public meeting at Rockford middle school, the DEQ, Prein & Newhof, and I made presentations. Many in attendance were Bella Vista residents who rejected the idea of a community water system. We dropped the whole idea right then and there. I even said publicly that this was not the field to die on. Let me state for the record: I have never had any plan to take over Bella Vista water then nor is there any intent to do so now or in the future. Scare tactics do not help voters think clearly. Before Dr. Jorgensen prescribes how someone should vote, he should first read the patient’s chart. Jim Alles Candidate for Cannon Twp. Treasurer Rockford swim program ranks high in nation Dear Editor, It is with much pride that I send the following announcement: The National Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) each year ranks all high school teams by their duel meet/conference meet strength. This is in contrast to the state meet, which has no indication of depth, just the strength of your top 8-10 athletes. This ranking takes both depth and top athletes into consideration based on your best duel meet. OVERALL HIGH SCHOOL TEAM RANKINGS BY GENDER: Our boys program was awarded 18th in the country and our girls program 34th. NISCA also ranks each program by overall strength of girls and boys teams together. (Many programs are strong in girls or boys programs, but not both.) OVERALL RANKING FOR BOTH MEN’S & WOMEN’S PROGRAM: Rockford is listed as […]
Only the Feds by STEVE GRIMM Cannon Township Supervisor No one matches the federal government when it comes to putting form over substance. Recently there was the story of Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania who spoke on the House floor about a new stadium in his district that was prevented from opening by the federal government because the mirrors in the bathrooms were a quarter inch too low. That is precisely why Cannon Township works so hard to keep a healthy fund balance. When we expanded our fire barn, we did so after saving up for it so we could pay cash. Federal stimulus dollars were available, but we knew that with those dollars came the restraints that would be placed on us by the feds. What was a million dollar project would become a five million dollar project, controlled by some big contractor from the east side of the state or Ohio or Pennsylvania. Cannon is proud of the fact that we were able to say to the feds, “Keep your money.” We have also run into this with our roads. Often, we have been told by the feds that we do not qualify for road improvements because, according to the feds, “not enough people have been injured.” So, we fixed intersections ourselves, in conjunction with the county road commission. Another example of the clueless federal government is this: federal law requires that absentee overseas and military ballots be sent 45 days before an election. Because elections are held on Tuesdays, that means that the fed requires that clerks send the ballots to those people on Saturday, when municipal offices are closed. There were four such ballots in Cannon this year. Those four ballots were electronically mailed on Monday, and confirmed that they were received. One was to a voter in the military, and his ballot has already been received at the Township. The others were to three people living overseas. For the feds, that isn’t good enough. Now, they are threatening a lawsuit against the State of Michigan because 70 clerks in the state sent the ballots out, but late. Only the feds. Of course, and sadly, some are using this to score political points. I am reminded of Spirit of ’76 and […]
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 […]