Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting September 1st, 2015

On the agenda:
Special Orders -
- Public Hearing - Create an IFT district for LB Transportation begins at 4:50
Public Comment begins at 9:29
New Business -
- R15-13 Create IFT district for LB Transportation begins at 19:20
- R15-15 Sidewalk deficit elimination plan begins at 20:54
- SPU15-01 - 4806 Curtis Rd. - Pond begins at 20:39
- Oath of Office - New Police Officer begins at 24:19
- Meritorious Award - Police Department begins at 27:14
- Set public hearing for 2016 General Fund Budget begins at 32:26
- Award 2016-2018 Brush Contract begins at 33:10
- WWTP Update by Billingsley and Canal Rehabilitation begins at 37:04
- Uniformed Investigator Job Description begins at 43:18
- Letter of Support for ROTC Program for Bridgeport Schools begins at 45:16
Board Comments begin at 47:49

Sorry I am 14 days late in posting this! 

Something  I have never commented on before is the fact that I like how these meetings start out with a prayer by one of our local pastors and also the Pledge Of Allegiance,  Please don't ever change that.

The meeting starts with a public hearing for creating a IFT district for LB Transportation.  I was going to research this and share that info on my blog but I have not had the time to do that.  If anyone is interested in what this is, you can check out information like this -- http://www.michigan.gov  and look at Taxes>Property Tax>Property Tax Exemptions>Industrial Facilities Exemption  (Sorry I couldn't get the link to work directly to their page)
There were two speakers that spoke on this during the hearing.  It is always a good thing to add more business to our township!

During the public comment period there were several speakers.  First up was Saginaw County Commissioner Cheryl Hadsall with updates of things going on in our district.  She is always very informative.  She talked about the county budget, health department, animal shelter and the jail.
I knew her name, knew she was involved in politics here, but never really knew much more about her.  After seeing her come to several of our township board meetings and seeing her level of involvement, her caring about the district and the people she serves, she has definitely won me over!  

Another speaker was Sharalee Hammond. She spoke about her husband, Frederick Hammond.  Mr. Hammond was in a motorcycle accident I believe on June 16th, 2015 at King/Old King Rd. here in Bridgeport.  Mr. Hammond passed away on June 22nd, 2015.  I would like to offer my condolences to the Hammond family for their loss.
Mrs. Hammond said the police report from the investigation stated that this is an unlit area.  She would like to have more lighting installed there.  I haven't driven on that area there by the overpass in the nighttime, but even in the daytime I found it very confusing.  I was use to the old layout but went to check it out after the new overpass was built and reopened and just thought how that will be confusing to someone that does not know the area.  I can understand how there could be accidents there, especially at night without the proper lighting.  Hopefully something can be done to help improve that spot and help to prevent any more accidents or loss of life.

Welcome to Bridgeport's newest police officer, Dennis Howe!  
And Congratulations to Bridgeport Police Officer Jeff Roberts on his Meritorious Award!!
I have heard that there is talk, rumblings around town, about Bridgeport hiring a new full time police officer.  Let me address that.  Knowing how the gossip and BS runs around here in Bridgeport, I imagine some of the things being said are "They are using money from the assessment passed last year to pay for this!!" ...  No they are not.  One of Bridgeport's officers, Brent Green, is also the Bridgeport Schools Resource Officer.  His salary is being paid by the school district through a special grant they receive.  This is a savings to Bridgeport, so they were going to take the money they would have spent on Officer Green's salary and use that to hire two part time officers to help cover the time that he is away from his regular duties.  But they ran into a problem in that people are not interested in being a part time officer.  So they instead used the money they would have spent on Officer Green's salary to pay for the salary for a full time officer.  Simple to understand isn't it?  
**I should also note that there were two officers hired through the assessment passed.  That was one of the requests for the assessment, so they could hire more officers and get the staffing levels up to where they should be.  Those officers were hired and sworn in months ago.
Also if anyone is interested in this tidbit -- The budgets for the police department and the fire departments, have two separate budgets.  They keep a budget for the money from the assessment that was passed and another budget for their regular operating budget.  The money for the new officer is coming from the regular budget.
I imagine some of the other things being said are things like "They don't need another officer, we have enough!!"  or "We don't have the population or crime to justify this!!"  Our population here in Bridgeport according to the 2010 census is currently at 10,514 residents.  I don't know right off hand exactly what our crime statistics are here in Bridgeport, but I do know what I see when I read the regular log that is posted of the police and fire department calls.  I know what I read in the papers about the crime here in Bridgeport.  I know that I don't live in what would be considered a high crime area, but if I don't keep the car locked at night, someone will be going through it and stealing anything they can.  I know that if I leave anything unsecured in the yard, it will disappear.  I have yard lights, gates, locks, and it still doesn't stop them. Well, the locks do help, it may not stop them from trying but it does stop them from succeeding!   I have watched crime steadily increase here in Bridgeport since I was a child.  It is a different world nowadays and if another officer helps to keep crime down then I am all for it.  I think most people would be supportive of it if it is their home that is being broken into, if it is them that is in a serious accident, if it is their loved one that becomes a victim of crime.  Hopefully most of you will never need a police officer, but if you do, then please be grateful that they are there!
If anyone would like to know more about our crime statistics or exactly what our officers do, then contact Chief Duffett.  I suspect he can tell you exactly what our stats are, what the percentage is for other townships as for the size of their force compared to the population and crime.  I think he would probably be more than happy to share any information with you that he has.  You could also contact the Township Manager Rose Licht or the Township Supervisor Augie Tausend if you have any questions about the budgets, assessments, or anything else; I think they would also be happy to answer any of your questions.  Wouldn't it be better to get the truth and facts straight from the source rather than to just believe any griping you may hear spreading around town??  Inform yourselves and think for yourselves!

The public hearing date was set for October 6th, 2015 for the Bridgeport Charter Township 2016 General Fund Budget.  Got Questions?  Show up at the meeting.

The 2016-2018 Brush Contract was awarded to Heart Tree Service.  I had no complaints with the old tree service company that picked up our brush in the past, but I will say that I have been very impressed with the workers from Heart.  They really seem to go above and beyond!  Thank You!

There was also an interesting update about our waste water treatment plant.  I am fascinated easily :-) If I had the time I would like to go through the tour of the plant, but I just don't have the time.  Maybe in the future I can go.  I love seeing how things operate and learning new things.
The Bridgeport School District is also working on possibly bringing the Air Force ROTC program to Bridgeport in the future and the Township has written a letter in support of bringing the program here.  I was glad to see they did that.
And Lastly - Once again I would like to say that everyone should take the time to listen to the board member comments at the end of the meeting!

This is another little rant I have.  It is not related to this meeting but it is related to the township.  
You can find amazing things on the Saginaw Circuit Court Website.  I was there looking on the status of the lawsuit involving the schools and came across this - http://www.saginawcounty.com/Apps/ClerkSearches/CircuitCivilDetail.aspx?caseNo=14-025378-AW
The information shown here doesn't really give the details of the basis of the suit against Bridgeport Township but I believe it is about the Police and Fire Department Assessments that passed by a 60+ percentage voter approval margin in 2014.
I know that there are a few that were not happy that the assessments passed, I remember them vividly from a meeting that was held last November.  I understand that more taxes are a hardship on some and that no one really likes paying more taxes.  I am not a big supporter of taxes, but this is one that I did support and voted for.  Being the suspicious and pessimistic person that I am,  I have to wonder what really is behind the filing of this lawsuit?  There is no doubt that there are times when a lawsuit is necessary, but then there are times when it is not.  This one seems like just another frivolous lawsuit to me, just my opinion.......  Maybe it is just time for some people to admit defeat......
It is easy for someone to file lawsuit after lawsuit when it doesn't really cost them anything, or little, because they represent themselves.  But how much does it cost the person or entity being sued to defend against these lawsuits?  Lawsuit after Lawsuit?  Maybe at the public hearing for the 2016 township budget, the township could give a breakdown of how much suits like this are costing them.  Are costing the Bridgeport Taxpayers......
On the general topic of lawsuits, the public should ask these questions:  Is the public good really being served by this suit?  Is it right and justified?  Do the benefits outweigh the costs?  When it is the taxpayer money being spent to defend against lawsuits, I would hope the public is asking these questions!  Would the public support such suits if it was done just out of malice?  Just for harassment?  Just for entertainment?  Just for a feeling of self empowerment?  Just because someone is bored and maybe has too much time on their hands?  Anytime there is a lawsuit filed, by anyone against anyone, I would hope that the filer and the general public would take a good look at it and decide if it is really worth it, is it really right?

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