Macomb Township trustees continue to pursue grants, support SMART shuttles

By: Dean Vaglia | Macomb Chronicle | Published June 29, 2022


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Township Board of Trustees voted to continue its grant-writing contract with Team Roe at its Wednesday, June 22, meeting.

Continuing the program for another year, the board unanimously — 6-0, as Clerk Kristi Pozzi was absent — voted to keep Liz Roe contracted to handle the grant application and writing processes for a $3,000 monthly retainer.

“For a starter program, it has gone on to be a very successful year,” Roe said. “We’ve learned a lot as a team, I think, in the township about just how much work it takes to actually apply for a grant.”

Roe estimates the township has collected about $70,000 in grant funding with more funds to come; she was recently informed that the township will receive $50,000 from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to be put toward a pathway project.

One thing those involved in the grant-writing processes found out during the past year was that Macomb County communities tend to receive less in grant funding than surrounding communities. Treasurer Leon Drolet brought this up with the administrator of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, who told Drolet that Macomb communities apply for grants less often.

“When we started down (the grant-writing) process with Liz, I could see a little bit of why,” Drolet said. “It’s not an easy process to go through, but clearly other communities are doing it in these other counties.”

As a taste of what the process can be like, Drolet shared the process it took to write the grant to build a pathway from Macomb Corners Park to the township administration building. An archeological study had to be performed on the site; the United States Department of Agriculture had to give approval to the project, since the land is well-suited for agricultural uses; and bat and rattlesnake mitigation plans had to be drawn up to ensure several species would not be disrupted by the sidewalk.

“And that’s just part of the process for applying for the grant,” Drolet said. “It’s big fun.”

Trustee Frank Cusumano Jr. inquired into the $3,000 retainer, curious as to why Roe was not being paid a lower retainer with commission for each grant accepted. Roe stated a commission payment model would present image and ethical issues since the money from grants is intended to be used on township services and improvements, not salaries.

“You can build operational expenses into grant applications, but paying for me should not affect a project,” Roe said.


SMART Municipal Credit and Community Care contract
The board voted unanimously to renew the Municipal Credit and Community Care Contract with the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation for the fiscal year 2023, which will involve spending $223,825 in state and millage-provided transportation credits to promote and fund SMART contractor services in the township.

Speaking in favor of renewing the contract was Jeff White, of the Richmond/Lenox EMS Ambulance Authority, and Bonnie McInerney-Slater, Macomb County community ombudsman for SMART.

White explained that the credits pay for shuttle services in Macomb Township. The service has seen growth over the past few years, going from 2,300 riders in 2020 to 3,200 in 2021 and 1,859 in the first quarter of 2022. With the ridership increase in mind, White said the EMS authority plans to expand the service to include same-day service and add a larger bus to the authority’s fleet.

McInerney-Slater shared information about SMART’s Flex service that the EMS authority will handle in the township.

People interested in using the shuttle service can call (586) 749-7713 for more information.