Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon delivers his annual address Jan. 26 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon delivers his annual address Jan. 26 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Officials focus on big issues during township address

Topics include roads, medical marijuana, police and fire millages

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 29, 2018

 U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, discusses local and national issues.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, discusses local and national issues.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 John Agrusa, of Resurrection Cemetery, was one of dozens who gathered for the address.

John Agrusa, of Resurrection Cemetery, was one of dozens who gathered for the address.

Photo by Deb Jacques

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — On the 200th anniversary of Macomb County, it was fitting that Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon’s 2018 State of Clinton Township address was titled, “How our past shapes our future.”

Cannon’s annual address took place Jan. 26 at the Main Branch of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, right next to the Clinton Township Civic Center. Guests included Clinton Township employees, partners, police officers, firefighters and local, state and nationally elected political officials.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters took the podium first, discussing how public and private partnerships display an effective working relationship between local, state and federal governments. He discussed the government shutdown, the advancement of facilities such as the library, and how the state of Michigan is leading the charge in the area of autonomous vehicles — an impact similar to when the first assembly line was founded.

“We were leaders at the beginning of the last century,” Peters said. “I believe we’ll be leaders again this century.”

Cannon then took the mic, delving into the history of Clinton Township, which also turns 200 this year. Formerly known as Huron Township, the original name was misleading and led to the name change that everybody knows today. Now, it’s the most populated township in Michigan.

The supervisor explained the importance of having a community that is able to be enjoyed by those who live in it and those who visit it. Whether it’s a trip to The Mall at Partridge Creek, participating in the Yasu Sister City exchange program, or taking in the classic cars at the Gratiot Cruise, the township boasts numerous events and activities.

Not everything is perfect, he noted. Cannon discussed the impact of receiving 20 percent less in state revenue sharing in the present time when compared to past years — or an approximate loss of $37 million the past 15 years. The township’s millage rate is 0.81, or less than 1 mill — a result of the Headlee Amendment and Proposal A.

To combat revenue loss, the goal is to bring more businesses within township borders. In 2017, 105 plans were processed for new sites, redevelopment or special land use. Additionally, 147 new businesses were approved to occupy vacant space in existing developments.

Also, new single-family housing permits are up more than 40 percent from the previous year. Building Superintendent Barry Miller will be introducing online building permitting, expediting the process as well as creating documentation in the township’s online record management program.

In 2017, the Clinton Township Fire Department responded to 12,675 incidents. Cannon welcomed new Fire Chief Timothy Duncan, and he mentioned how firefighters are preparing for active shooter and mass casualty situations.

The Clinton Township Police Department fielded 42,832 calls for assistance last year. A big development was an ordinance requiring some businesses to install security cameras as a way to help fight crime. 

Due to losses in state revenue, and police and fire millages set to expire in 2019 and 2021, respectively, Cannon said he will request that the Board of Trustees place renewal of both millages on the August 2018 ballot.

He then focused on two major local issues: medical marijuana and roads.

In late 2017, the Board of Trustees planned to  opt in in to new medical marijuana laws that run concurrent to laws when the original ballot proposal passed a decade ago. However, while the township’s planning commission devises ordinances in relation to opting in, Cannon wants to postpone a vote until the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs more fully defines the rules.

“The ship has sailed when it comes to medical marijuana,” Cannon said.

In regard to roads, he said “there is not enough money to go around.”

The township receives no money for roads, sidewalks or streetlights and relies on state and federal money given to the Macomb County Department of Roads. It relies on special assessment districts, in which residents pay a portion of the cost and the county covers the other half — often a 50-50 split.

A millage proposal may go to the voters, asking for 1.9 mills for a five-year period. It would generate approximately $5 million annually and would address the biggest complaint of residents.

Other speakers, including Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, echoed Cannon’s words, saying roads in Clinton Township and the surrounding communities are underfunded and require more cost-effective measures in the coming years.