Clinton Township residents ask about sidewalks, services

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published February 20, 2024


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Municipal money was on the minds of everyone at the Feb. 12 Clinton Township Board of Trustees meeting as trustees and residents discussed the upcoming fiscal year’s budget.

Set to run from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025, the hearing allowed residents to comment on the budget for the upcoming year before it is adopted at a later meeting.

Township resident Sam Buschell asked why no funds were allocated for sidewalk repair, with Public Works Director Mary Bednar confirming sidewalk repairs are done as part of road repair projects. Buschell also asked about the wood chipping line item in the sanitation fund, which is going down from $250,000 to $62,500 after the township opted to end its residential wood chipping program later this year.

“We have to give a date people can put (their wood) out by, but as you know sometimes you put it out and it takes us eight weeks to get there,” Bednar said. “We’re anticipating after that date we will be into June being able to finish the service.”

Resident Dana Duggar commented about the lack of a sidewalk assessment requested for the coming fiscal year, asking why the assessment is not there and if the township is not paying for sidewalk upkeep. The assessment line item is a holdover from when residents would pay to have sidewalks built, though Duggar was not satisfied with the answer.

“Does not our ordinance allow for the township to assess the property owner to replace defective sidewalks in front of their properties?” Duggar asked. “Why are we not doing that where they exist?”

Bednar said the township will have inspectors looking at the sidewalks this year, which it was not able to do in prior years due to staff shortages. Prior investigations were done on a trip-and-fall incident basis. Cutting the chipping program will allow the department to be more flexible with its workers.


Inclusive Playground is a go
The Inclusive Playground Committee reached its $1.4 million financial goal at the Feb. 12 meeting with several funding boosts and the formation of a procurement plan.

Its final project funding was met through a $1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and by Township Supervisor Robert Cannon, who was not at the meeting, asking the board to approve a $300,000 budget contingency.

“When the committee was started, the mission was twofold: build an inclusive playground and advise the township on how we make all of our parks more accessible, more inclusive,” said Paul Gieleghem, township treasurer and chair of the Inclusive Playground Committee. “The mission doesn’t go away. Certainly, our efforts don’t go away as well.”

The $300,000 contingency will cover any funds not raised before the time equipment is purchased, allowing the project to move forward while allowing the committee to fundraise further.

Trustees set a procurement plan for the project by awarding the contract to Alabama-based playground builder GameTime. An alternative plan to procure equipment by a bidding process was considered, but the interchangeability of parts between GameTime’s playscapes throughout township parks would make it possible to install inclusive equipment across the township. GameTime was first approved as the vendor for the project in 2020. Going with GameTime will allow construction of the playground to begin this year.