Stanek: State of township is very good

Big Rapids Township Supervisor Bill Stanek presents the annual State of the Township Address Tuesday night at the township fire hall. Stanek highlighted the successes achieved throughout the last year, and looked ahead to the work ahead in 2018. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

 

BIG RAPIDS TWP. — From negotiating a new wastewater contract to completing the work on the fire hall, there were several measurable successes in 2017 for Big Rapids Township.

Touting those achieved goals from 2017 and looking ahead to what’s in store for 2018, Supervisor Bill Stanek presented the annual State of the Township Address Tuesday night to residents, employees and other guests.

“Financially, this township is in very good shape, thanks to the board members,” he concluded. “The 2018 budget is $2.1 million and we have an operating reserve of nine months. We are sitting real good. The state of the township is very good. The township is very good.”

Stanek recognized employees — from firefighters to those who volunteer to serve on committees and board — for their hard work throughout the year, which contributed to the township’s success.

“We have great people — people who care about the township,” he said. “That’s what makes it great to be here.”

Among the 2017 successes, Stanek highlighted:

• Completion of the fire hall used with funds saved by the fire department so no financial burden was put on residents.

• Officials’ work to lower the township’s debt to less than half of what it had been five years ago.

• Completion of a new 25-year wastewater agreement between the City of Big Rapids and both Green Charter and Big Rapids Charter townships. “There was a lot of giving and taking, but now we have a contract that we all can live with.”

• The opening of the Hampton Inn, Culver’s and 33 new housing units in the township.

• Continued work with the Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant, to locate and assess the township’s sewer system.

• Computerizing the township’s burial sites.

Looking ahead, Stanek outlined some things officials will be working on in 2018. They are:

• High-speed internet access throughout the township.

• Fundraising for the building at Highlandview Cemetery, as a task force is going to be looking to rebuild the structure.

• Fixing the bathrooms at Highbanks Park to be in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act.

• Additional funding for roads throughout the township. Since residents approved a road millage and officials agreed to provide $100,000 annually, more than $1 million has been spent on roads. In 2018, Stanek said nearly $500,000 will be spent on projects.

• Continue to improve working relationship with the City of Big Rapids. “Moving forward, it is something we have to keep on doing on a regular basis.”

• Preparation for the 2020 census. “It’s very important to us, as the money we get from the state is based on the population we have,” he said.

• Increased growth as more student housing is expected in 2018, and a permit has been submitted for a hotel. “The building department has had a good couple of years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down.”

Financially, Stanek said the township’s tax base has continued to increase, even as some a lot of properties are capped or are lower than they were 10 years before. Assessed values of the township were $135 million 10 years; today, those values are over $144 million.

“One area I would really like to encourage look at is what we can do with industrial park,” he said. “It is probably our biggest liability we have right now.”

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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