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January 26, 2011 - This year's dues for membership in Southeast Michigan Council Of Governments were almost too rich for Springfield Township.

Three of the seven-person Township Board voted against the $1,550 membership in the regional planning organization.

"I was hesitant last year," said Treasurer Jamie Dubre, at the Jan. 13 meeting. "I can't support it again, it's too much."

Trustees Dave Hopper and Judy Hensler joined Dubre in voting against it. Hopper said much of the information provided by SEMCOG is available free on the Internet.

"I don't see much benefit to the township, for $1,550," he said.

In favor were Supervisor Mike Trout, Clerk Laura Moreau, and trustees Dennis Vallad and Roger Lamont.

Membership benefits, such as federal and state grant application help, expertise on transportation, safety path, and information technology, and training workshops, outweigh the cost, Trout said.

"This will be increasingly important as we explore ways to implement our pathways project (along Davisburg Road from Dixie Highway to Davisburg)," Trout said.

SEMCOG helped the township get a grant for an Oak Hill Road paving project, and also provides the township with a seat during regional planning discussions, he said.

Trout is also a member of SEMCOG's Transportation Advisory Committee.

"It keeps me in contact with the organization and others with whom we need to associate for road projects and funding," he said. "This involvement also provides valuable information and insight into emerging transportation issues, management techniques and resource opportunities that can help Springfield Township improve transportation conditions for residents and visitors."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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