Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bridgeport School Board Meeting October 27th, 2014

Even though I do not have children in the Bridgeport Schools I still try to follow what is going on in the school system here since this is my hometown and I did attend school here.  With all the talk about the problems lately concerning the schools I decided to attend my first school board meeting.  I was disappointed by some of the things I saw there.  I don't know all the facts, I don't personally know any of the people involved, so I will keep my opinion to myself on many of the items brought up at this meeting.
There are a few things though I would like to comment on:
These problems did not happen overnight, not even over just the last three years.  They have been building for many many years.
The DREADED 3 minute rule for public comments!  I think the more diplomatic way to handle that matter would have been to politely say something like "We request that you keep your comments to 3 minutes so that everyone will have a chance to get up and speak".  The way that it was handled by the board president was not tactful.
Marti Sageman, I believe you love this community and especially the schools. You have served your community for many years, but maybe it is time for you to step back and let others step in and lead.
I was very impressed that there were so many students that showed up at the meeting and of the ones that got up to speak.  It is always good to see young people care and get involved.
I was impressed to see so many residents come to the meeting!  I would love to see that kind of interest in our township government meetings.
One thing that I found distasteful, disrespectful, was when some audience members got up and walked out while the superintendent was speaking at the end of the meeting.  It appeared to me that one of the audience members was raising his arms and motioning for the audience members to get up and leave.  Was that meant as a protest against the superintendent or just disrespect towards him, toward the board?  I found it disrespectful to all of us that were attending.  There is no room for grandstanding by anyone when there is so much at stake.
If the residents, students, teachers, want to be heard and be respected, to work on solving the problems, you need to start with listening and showing respect and a willingness to work together.
There are so many problems in the schools it is going to take a lot of work, a lot of cooperation, to straighten them out.  It is going to take time and patience.
Good Luck to the superintendent, the board, the staff, the students, the parents, in solving the problems that the school system is facing.

On the agenda was:
- High School Principal Recommendation/Appointment which begins at about 3:40 into the video.
- 2013 Audit Presentation by Yeo & Yeo begins at 4:35
- Brucker Roof Discussion begins at 32:20
- Staff and Student of the Month Recognition begins at 33:55
- Special Education Update begins at 42:18
- Martin G. Atkins Elementary Update begins at 59:25
- Martin G. Atkins Middle School Update begins at 1:08:55
- High School Update begins at 1:15:50
- Citizen Participation/Public Comment begins at 1:25:20 and lasts for about 1 hour.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Battle Of The Signs In Bridgeport

Battle of the signs and common sense in Bridgeport..........

I see these two signs while out and about here in Bridgeport.  To me they represent the two paths that Bridgeport residents can take on November 4th.  

The Yes Path will lead to a safer and better community for our residents.  I have posted videos and blog posts concerning the police and fire departments special assessments.  You can find all the facts and figures there.
This was a presentation given by Police Chief Dave Duffett and Fire Chief Patrick Nelson in October at the Bridgeport Gun Club

This was a presentation by Fire Chief Patrick Nelson

Another presentation by Fire Chief Patrick Nelson

The Bridgeport Police Department has a Facebook page you can follow

The Bridgeport Fire Department has a Facebook page you can follow

They both post updates on their departments and what is going on in the community.  You can also sign up for the Constant Contact emails from the township government.  They include the logs of all the police and fire department calls every week, what meetings are coming up and the minutes of the meetings.  If you have any doubt that we need more money for the two departments, just read the weekly list of calls.  I know that in my neighborhood crime continues to increase.  You can see all the past call logs on the township website under the departments.     http://bridgeportmi.org/  The link to sign up for the emails is at the bottom of the website.
The Bridgeport Township Government also has a Facebook page you can follow.  They post updates for the community, the police and fire department call logs, etc.....

The information is out there for the residents, in the meetings, online, in the weekly Birch Run/Bridgeport Herald newspaper, or you can contact any of the township officials or the police and fire departments.  It is up to the residents to make the effort to seek this information out, to get involved in our community.

The No Path is a path into the past really.  It is not the path to a better future for our community, a safer path for the members of our police and fire departments that we expect to be there to protect and serve our community; it is a path into the bitterness of the past, of the battles that took place in our community and divided our community.  There is no hope for a prosperous future on this No Path.
I was reading a article online about social media and there was a comment in there that struck a chord with me when thinking about the future of Bridgeport:
"Instead, it’s that we’re a culture of complainers. We use complaints as icebreakers or to bond with others: What’s with this weather? What’s with our boss? We use complaints to establish rapport. Studies have suggested that complaining adds years to your life by helping us release tension. But we also complain because it’s in our nature, and we’re more apt to complain than to do something about it."
It was especially the last line that reminded me of the problems in Bridgeport, that we are more apt to complain than to do something about it.  I had become one of the complainers and haters, was doing nothing to make this a better community.  It is time for some of our residents to let go of the past and move forward if we want to have any hope for the future of our little community.  Do something positive, make a difference!!
I am not saying that we should  just blindly accept everything that goes on.  If you see something you don't like, think is wrong, stand up, fight for change.  BUT there is a difference between fighting for a better future and just bitching, complaining, being negative towards everything in our community.  Some peoples energy would be better spent doing something positive instead of the same old worn out tiresome hate.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bridgeport Township Police and Fire Departments Special Assessment Presentation

Bridgeport Township Police Chief Dave Duffett and Fire Chief Patrick Nelson gave a presentation at the Bridgeport Gun Club of the details for the Police and Fire Special Assessments that will be on the November ballot.
There are several things I would like to point out right up front.
First is the language on the ballot that seems confusing to most people that I have shown it to.  It states "Shall the entire unincorporated portion of Bridgeport Charter Township...".  Some people think that means that only part of Bridgeport will be assessed or that it is some kind of subterfuge language.  It is not subterfuge it is just legalese language.  The assessment will be on ALL tax parcels in Bridgeport that have one or more structures on the parcel, not on any vacant parcels.
Second is that the Bridgeport Downtown Development Authority does not capture any monies from special assessments like these.  So no matter what anyone may say, the DDA will not be getting any of this money, it is just for the fire and police departments.
Lastly, these proposals on the ballot will just be to approve the special assessment district.  The ballot language does list the proposed flat rate cost for the police and fire departments, but after the assessments are approved, then there will another public hearing on November 17th, 2014 to set the rate.  The public can come to this special hearing and have their say on what the costs for the assessment should be.  The cost WILL NOT go any higher than what is listed on the ballot.  This is my understanding of the technicalities and hopefully I have that correct!

Chief Duffett and Chief Nelson provide such good information on their departments and on the special assessment in this meeting.  Please take the time to watch it!!

Here is some information from the handouts they provided at the meeting.

For the Police Department:
The proposed rate is $37.80 per tax parcel with one or more structures for a 5 year  period. 
The money raised will be used to bring back 2 full time Police Officer positions, and to fund their uniforms and gear.
Their current staffing level includes 1 Police Chief, 1 Sgt/Uniformed Investigator and 6 Patrol Officers.  At their current staffing levels there are times when there is no officer on duty due to things like vacations or illness.  With two more officers they will  be able to maintain 24/7 coverage.
In 2011, they responded to 7,240 calls.
In 2012, they responded to 6,807 calls (the decrease was due to their low staffing levels at that time).
In 2013, they responded to 8,159 calls.
For 2014 they are on pace to respond to approximately 8,800 calls.
With the two new officers they would be able to be proactive in trying to prevent crime in Bridgeport, instead of just reactive.
If you have any questions you can contact them at 989-777-2800 or by email - dduffett@bridgeportmi.org
The township website is www.bridgeportmi.org
The Police Department Facebook page is Bridgeport Township Police Department

For the Fire Department:
They have a lot of information about their department and their needs so it will just be easier to post a copy of the pages of information they provided.  Just click on each photo to see a larger version of it.

If you have any questions you can contact them
Fire Chief Patrick Nelson
989-777-2400 ext 233
email - fire@bridgeportmi.org
The township website is www.bridgeportmi.org
The Fire Department Facebook page is Bridgeport Township Fire Department


I am hoping that our residents will get out and vote for these two assessments!!  Anyone that lives in this township knows that we need more police protection.  I know right in my neighborhood the crime has increased.  Chief Duffett quoted some FBI stats about the police levels for similar population size townships and they have 18 police officers, we only have 8.  We need these two other officers and it would be nice to be sure we always have 24/7 protection.
The Fire Department is in need of support from our community.  They have a long list of the things they need  to just maintain the fire station, their apparatus (vehicles) and their equipment.
The men and women from both of these departments literally put their lives on the line to protect all of us in our community and we need to support them.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bridgeport Township DDA Board Meeting October 8th, 2014

Discussed at the Downtown Development Authority meeting:
Under Old Business:
1.  Canoe Launch which starts at 1:55 in the video.
2.  Great Lakes Discovery Center which starts at 5:50 in the video.
3.  2015 Budget which starts at 7:35 in the video.
4.  6001 Dixie Hwy - Update which starts at 18:53 in the video.
5.  Beautification - Update which starts at 22:50 in the video.
6.  Christmas Decorations which starts at 25:45 in the video.

DDA Coordinator's Report starts at 30:20 in the video.
DDA Board Member Comments begin at 35:00 in the video.

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting October 7th, 2014

Items discussed at tonight's meeting were:
Public Comment period which begins at 3:05 in the video.
Under New Business:
1. Resolution R-14-14 Canoe/Kayak Launch Committed Funds which begins at 5:15 in the video.
2. Resolution R-14-15 Southfield Village drain district which begins at 6:25 in the video. Saginaw County Drain Commissioner Brian Wendling gives a report on the drain subject.
3. Set public hearing date for General Fund Budget 2015 which begins at 11:22 in the video.
4. C.E.O. Energy Company presentation by Tom Maher which begins at 12:30 in the video.
5. ROWE Professional Services Company - Zoning Update Services which begins at 26:28 in the video.
6. Proclamation acknowledging Jimmie Sanders which begins at 27:55 in the video.
Board Comments begin at 32:45 in the video.