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It is time for township board to revisit priorities

September 22, 2010 - Dear Editor,

Brandon Township, like many other communities, is facing a fiscal crisis. A lack of funds for many of the township programs is forcing decisions about how to allocate those funds. The issue comes down to priorities.

I believe the residents of the township view police and fire protection at the top of the list. During the last two township meetings I have attended, there has been a proposal presented to reduce the budget for police presence in 2011 and beyond. To my way of thinking, this is a big mistake. Reduced visibility and increased 9-1-1 response time will only serve to make our community a less desirable place in which to live. If we wish to maintain our tax base and attract new residents, safety should be uncompromised. To think "this won't happen to me" is a false sense of security. I doubt there are many if any residents in the township who have had a police or fire emergency that would favor budget cuts to these services.

Other essential programs should include services that are needed and utilized by everyone in the township: roads, and road maintenance. More specifically, chloriding on a regular basis (five times per year). Without it, roads deteriorate, causing dangerous conditions, there is decreased police and fire response time, increased vehicle damage, incredible road dust, and significant cost to bring roads back up to standard at a later date. While the township "survey" did not show chloriding as a high priority item, we must understand that the survey is not scientifically valid, and that many of the respondents do not live on a road that requires township funds for chloride. If one lives on a paved road or "primary" gravel road (Sashabaw, Hadley) you don't have a problem. This happens to be the case for all of our Brandon Township trustees! On the other hand, if you live on a road with reduced chloride application, I'm sure most would not want the problems of this year to worsen. Roads also are a large part of the "first impression" created for prospective home buyers. Buyers will be turned off by roads that are potentially damaging to their vehicles and send up large clouds of dust and debris into homes.

For other discretionary programs, I believe a partial answer is a combination of pay-as-you-go and volunteerism. Some of this is already in place. The important point is to not sacrifice programs all of us need for those only used by a few.

I believe it is time for the board to revisit priorities. It's also time for the residents of Brandon Township to voice their opinions.

Steve Robinson

Brandon Twp.

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