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2011 year-end accomplishments—Groveland Township



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January 04, 2012 - Dear Editor,

As the New Year 2012 begins, the Groveland Township staff thought you might like to know what your township board, fire department and staff have done in 2011 and plans for 2012.

Growth has continued its dramatic drop. There were zero new homes in 2011 versus a typical year of 27-32 new homes. This is the third year in a row with no new homes.

Well, here it is: continued NO-Haz days; continued financial support to Holly and Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance (a special thanks to Diane Howell for her involvement); continued financial support to allow our residents to use the Holly Library without a millage fee; continuing support to the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund and Neighbor for Neighbor; continued financial support for the senior citizen van program in Holly and Ortonville; provided free mosquito sprays to residents through county funding program; continued road chloride and gravel programs.

Fiscal responsibility: continued Dumpster service at Grange Hall and I-75 (free to residents); continued collecting paper for recycling at township hall with funds to OCEF; continued our township tax rate at one mill for the township and raised the fire department millage only .44 to 3.94; continued cost recovery through the fire department; no elected official or staff received an annual salary adjustment in 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011; no fire department personnel received a raise in 2009, 2010 or 2011; continued to maintain a balanced budget.

Fire department: now offers wheelchair van service at a fee; fire department was the first fire department in Michigan to get our ambulance service CAAS certified (a special thanks to Lt. Mason for his efforts).

Miscellaneous: grant funding through CDBG in 2009-2010 was used to renovate Fire Station #1 to be ADA compliant; township further approved additional funding to renovate the station office and service area; No-Haz was held three days during 2011.

Future plans for 2012: continue to meet the needs of the township while facing the seventh year of revenue cuts. Our population dropped 11 percent in the 2010 census, reducing revenue sharing 11 percent; another priority will be working to finalize the sale to township property at I-75. We have reduced the size of the fire department and township staff to the size they were in the early 1990s. There will be no new construction projects, and new health care programs with significant savings will begin to be phased in. The township entrance will be made ADA compliant.

There is reason to be optimistic about 2012. For the first time in five years, the township's state equalized value will not be negative, instead it is positive at 1.75 percent. Recent sales reports have shown a number of homes selling for more than their SEV. It looks like we may have hit the bottom of 2011 and started the slow road back to growth in housing prices. 2012 will tell if the trend continues.

Our biggest positive news is our review of a project to start on the township property. The planning commission and township board are reviewing an offer to develop a portion of the township property for a recycling operation. This project could start an eventual Eco Park for environmental projects. The proposal would allow us to move our Dumpster service to Shields Road and make it permanent, as well as add services like plastic recycling and commercial paper shredding for residents.

In the first quarter, we should have the ability to accept credit card payments for taxes, gas line payoffs, ZBA or PC meeting fees with only a 2.5 percent administration fee charge to the use. Currently, taxes paid online incur a 2.75 percent fee.

I believe 2012 will be a turning point for Groveland Township. It appears that property values are slowly starting to rise and some new building projects may finally develop.

Bob DePalma, Groveland

Township Supervisor

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