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Clinton Township officials outline major issues for 2018

Focus on roads, medical marijuana, public safety and sinkholes

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 9, 2018

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon has a checklist of sorts that he wants to address this year.

He is focused on four main issues: roads, sinkholes, medical marijuana and public safety.

“Clearly, the biggest thing Clinton Township has to address is roads,” Cannon said. “Even though we don’t have ownership or jurisdiction over roads, we, as a board and community, must address what we can do to assist road maintenance and road repair.

“Second is sinkholes, and I don’t mean the big one we had on 15 Mile Road. Corrosion from restaurants and food preparation have already caused a lot of problems, both in their pipes and our pipes.”

Cannon mentioned the smaller sinkhole that continues to impact 15 Mile and Little Mack Avenue, with one lane closed. He said the township is feeling the brunt of a construction job gone wrong approximately two years ago.

Emphasis will also be placed on the continued impact of medical marijuana laws, not only in the local community, but also in how it’s legislated at the state level. On Dec. 15, state law changed to better explain the logistics of medical marijuana laws that were enacted nearly a decade ago, with both laws now running parallel.

The township “opted in” in to the new laws in an effort to devise ordinances to deal with cultivation, caregivers and the like in a more efficient manner.

Cannon — along with township Clerk Kim Meltzer, Treasurer Paul Gieleghem, Planning Director Carlo Santia and Attorney Jack Dolan — runs a committee that oversees the impact of the new legislation. Cannon expects the township’s Planning Commission to address the marijuana-related ordinance this month, with the Board of Trustees ultimately deciding whether to approve, reject or change its content.

“One time, before I started this study, I was dead set against medical marijuana,” he said. “As I talk to experts, people in the community, many senior groups, my vision changed and my view changed for the good that it does for these folks that have ailments.”

Cannon, who serves on the McLaren Macomb Hospital Board of Directors, recalled talking to doctors on the subject and realized that nearby facilities would better help deal with the “far better” laws that were recently enacted. He said the new law gives greater control and a better product in terms of caliber, quality and purity. He also aims to continue to keep the substance out of the hands of youths.

He also expects Clinton Township’s Police and Fire departments to continue to provide the same quality service the township has become renowned for in the area.

“That is a focus of what I think about and do every single day,” he said. “Our Police and Fire departments are fabulous, and we need to keep them at that level.”

Gieleghem said that by the end of the township’s fiscal year, which runs annually from April 1 to March 31, the township looks like it will increase return on investment by about 150 percent. He credited a rising interest rate environment, as well as taking advantage of active township investments.

“We want to ensure that we continue to manage the township funds in a way that maximizes returns without sacrificing safety or liquidity,” Gieleghem said, adding that a monthly projection of cash flow helps develop secure projections and an active strategy to move dollars around in compliance with state law.

Gieleghem, who is also chairperson of the township’s conservation committee, said he wants to “put more time and energy into the conservation committee and create policies that we think are going to help position Clinton Township as an attractive community” for people to be proud of and for people who are considering moving to the area, and to improve business corridors like Gratiot Avenue, Groesbeck Highway and Garfield Road.

Clerk Kim Meltzer said her office continues to improve efficiency in terms of electronic records management. After multiple local seniors were being taken advantage of in 2017, she said she will continue to push against commercial solicitation and make residents aware of a no-knock registry.

 “My office has been very diligent with making sure that people in our community are being accountable to the residents when they knock on their door,” Meltzer said.

Trustee Mike Keys recently completed his first full calendar year on the board. He said it was exciting to learn the ins and outs of how policies are made, and he praised the board for making decisions relating to easy access of board meetings online, as well as hearing from potential committee appointments in an open forum during meetings.

“I’m going to focus again on transparency,” Keys said. “I’m going to focus, too, on the public’s ability to hold public officials accountable in terms of ethics. It’s something I ran on.”

In 2018, Keys wants to focus on walkability, coupled with the township’s Green Business Award program, which was started by the conservation committee. By visiting different township businesses and encouraging simple actions such as recycling, he believes efforts will reveal that the township and most residents care about conserving the environment and improving the overall quality of life.

“It will allow us to go into some of these businesses and ask, ‘What are you doing to help the environment and improve the image?’” he said.

Cannon said the township wants to continue to use models from 2017 — like doing 50-50 road partnerships with the county to improve subdivisions — moving forward. He also credited Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller for being “a breath of fresh air” when it comes to assisting the community, such as in the form of sinkhole relief or drain projects.

This year also celebrates Macomb County’s 200th birthday, and the township is basing events like the annual fireworks and Festival of the Senses around a bicentennial theme that illuminates the history of the community, which has evolved from farmland to a crowded populace.

“This really starts out our next 200 years,” Cannon said.

Cannon will deliver the annual State of the Township address Friday, Jan. 26, at the Main Branch of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, 40900 Romeo Plank Road.