Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bridgeport Township DDA Board Meeting May 14th, 2014

Items on the Downtown Development Authority agenda were under New Business:
1 - Historic Bridge Landscape - Bids for Maintenance which starts at 4:40 in the video.
2 - Miss Bridgeport Bridge Fest Scholarship request for donation which starts at 13:05 in the video.
3 - The former B & S Heating building located next to the historic bridge which starts at 28:20 in the video.
4 - Bridge Fest Committee request for donation for fireworks which starts at 40:40 in the video.
5 - MDOT meeting concerning a future MDOT project to take place in 2015 -2016 which starts at 1:05:00 in the video.
Under Old Business they discussed:
1 - Canoe Launch which starts at 1:06:08 in the video.
2 - Snow Removal on DDA Sidewalks which starts at 1:07:05 in the video.
3 - DDA/Beautification - Flowers and Flags which starts at 1:07:20 in the video.
4 - "The Rock" @ I-75 - Sub-committee Meeting which starts at 1:21:50 in the video.
** I apologize that  my camera battery went dead during the meeting and after I put in a fresh one, the camera then said there was no more room left for recording so I missed the last few items on the agenda.  They also discussed the property swap with the GLDC and the property purchase of some land owned by the DDA board.  They also had a closed session to discuss a property purchase.
The next DDA Board regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at Noon in the Governmental Center.

At the April 9th DDA Board Meeting there was a discussion concerning donation requests from the community and the donation request from the Bridgeport Historical Society.
From the April 9th meeting minutes it says "1.) Donation Request - DDA Coordinator Dobis said that he is starting to see a lot of outside requests for donations. He stated that he has been watching the budget closely and looking into the future at things so if something comes along and there is interest in spending money for it, there will be money there. He doesn't want the community to see the DDA as a bank. He doesn't want to see the DDA footing bills for other groups’ entire projects."
For the request from the Historical Society they were requesting $6, 238.00 for needed repairs in the Historical Village and Mr. Dobis recommended giving them $2.000.00.  The DDA Board did grant them $3,100.00.  I think that was a fair and prudent decision by the board members.
At the May 14th DDA Board Meeting there was a request for $2,100 for the Miss Bridge Fest Scholarship program, Mr. Dobis recommended the full amount, the board did vote to grant the request.  There was some discussion on that item and one member that voted no said they would rather give money to the Bridgeport High School Scholarship fund since that money would go to our Bridgeport students.  I agree with that member that I would rather see the Bridgeport taxpayers money go to a Bridgeport student from our High School.
There was also a request for $4,000.00 for fireworks for Bridge Fest.  Mr. Dobis recommended the full amount be granted.  There was some lengthy discussion about members concerns of the amount and watching the budget and the committed expenses they already have.  The board voted to change that amount to $2,500.00.  There were some good and sensible discussions about the budget and I think their decision was very prudent.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting May 6th, 2014

I think the best part of last nights meeting for me was to see more residents in attendance and getting up to speak in the public comment period.  Maybe even better than that is the way the township board members are now responding to the residents when they speak.  There is more openness in the meeting, more explanation of the "what and why" on the items on the agenda that they are voting on.  I think they are finding a happy medium between just being a business meeting where the board comes in and votes on items with the residents having no clue as to what is going on and no say in the process, to a Bridgeport Community Board meeting that still accomplishes the necessary township business and keeps the residents informed and a part of the process.
There have been problems with the township government and the residents for years now.  Maybe the township board members had the "preconception" that any interaction with the township residents would be adversarial, and maybe the township residents had the "preconception" that any interaction would also be adversarial, that the board members would not listen to the voice of the people, and that they could not be trusted.  The more openness and the more interaction there is between the township government and the residents, the better it is for the community. We need to learn to trust each other and work together for the community.  I am very happy with what I saw at last nights meeting and think we are on a good path.
Now we just need to get more residents involved.  Residents can sign up for the emails from the township on their website  Find out about all the upcoming meetings of the various departments and attend them.  Bridgeport's manager Rose Licht and the board members say they are willing to meet with and listen to anyone who has a concern. So for any residents that have questions or problems, then either come to a meeting or if it will be a more involved issue then contact them at the township offices.

Now on to the board meeting.  During the public comment period we had Saginaw County Commissioner Dennis Krafft speak about 4 issues that will be coming up on the ballot in August for Saginaw County.  Here is a article from Mlive that explains the millage's that will be on the ballot. Saginaw County voters to decide 4 millage questions in August primary
The Saginaw County Commission on Aging is a wonderful program and I hope that will pass.  The Mosquito Control is a very necessary program and I hope that will pass.  The Saginaw Childrens Zoo and the County Parks millages may be hard to get passed.  Getting residents to vote for and pay for parks they never use may be hard to do.  Then there is the issue of the tax money approved by the voters that gets diverted by local Downtown Development Authority Boards.  That is a issue that I hope elected officials and the voters take into consideration every time millages, tax increases come up.
DVM Kurt Kiessling also introduced himself at the meeting.  He will be running for Saginaw County Commissioner seat for District # 7.  I was glad to see men like Mr. Krafft and Mr. Kiessling come to our local township board meeting.
We also had several residents speak about issues in our township.  One gentleman spoke about the township board meeting minutes and having them include more of what is discussed during the meetings and comments made by residents during the public comment period.  The township clerk believes that only the board members in attendance, votes taken etc. are what is supposed to be in the minutes.  The resident speaking believes that those are only the minimum required to be in compliance with the state laws, but that does not preclude any thing else from being included in the minutes.
On the Michigan Municipal League website  they have  A handbook for local officials - Meetings: Agendas and Minutes  This handbook discusses meeting minutes and gives a example of board meeting minutes that include comments made by residents during the public comment period.
From the Michigan Open Meetings Act Handbook it just discusses the items required to be included in the minutes.
"15.269 Minutes generally.
Sec. 9. (1) Each public body shall keep minutes of each meeting showing the date, time, place, members present, members absent, any decisions made at a meeting open to the public, and the purpose or purposes for which a closed session is held. The minutes shall include all roll call votes taken at the meeting. Corrections in the minutes shall be made not later than the next meeting after the meeting to which the minutes refer. Corrected minutes shall be available no later than the next subsequent meeting after correction. The corrected minutes shall show both the original entry and the correction.
(2) Minutes shall be public records open to public inspection and shall be available at the address designated on posted public notices pursuant to section 4. Copies of the minutes shall be available to the public at the reasonable estimated cost for printing and copying.
(3) Proposed minutes shall be available for public inspection not more than 8 business days after the meeting to which the minutes refer. Approved minutes shall be available for public inspection not later than 5 business days after the meeting at which the minutes are approved by the public body."

One of the agenda items discussed is the change in rules for a resident being put on the agenda to speak.  I am unsure what the exact change will be, but they will be emailing out the new rules to anyone signed up to receive emails from the township and it will be posted on their website.
Some of the other agenda items discussed at the meeting were 3 grants the township would be applying for. One is for the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The money would be used for a gate, sounds like a good plan to me.  The second grant would be for the Police Department, money to be used for camera to be installed in each police vehicle, that is something that I think is necessary.  The third grant would be for the installing CCTV cameras in the Township Governmental Building.  I guess in today's modern world that is a necessity. They will be changing the fee schedule for incident reports from the police department, the fees will be dropped for township residents.  They will be purchasing two new township vehicles and selling the old ones.

There was also the Fire Department Apparatus Report presented by Chief Patrick Nelson.  I hope residents will take the time to watch it.  There is also a video of his presentation at the Building and Grounds Meeting on April 14th.  It is a longer presentation than the one from last night.  That video can be viewed on YouTube at Building and Grounds Meeting April 14th 
There was also a discussion by Police Chief David Duffett about the increase in home break-ins in our township and some surplus military equipment our police department was able to obtain.  I think it is great that our department was able to obtain a Humvee for free.  It will not be used for patrolling, only for emergency situations.  With our township still having rural areas and I-75 to deal with, that Humvee could be a life saver especially in a winter like we had this past winter.  The police department will be looking for donations to help cover the cost of painting the vehicle and I hope Bridgeport residents and businesses will step up for it.

The board meeting was almost 1 1/2 hours long.  If you don't want to watch the entire meeting and only want to see certain segments, then the easiest way is to view it on YouTube.  There I have posted in the "About" section for the video, the times where each segment starts, IE: Public comment begins at 4:33 in the video.  If you just click on the time in blue print, it will take you to that segment.  Just click on the link below to view the video.