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State of Township highlights new businesses, promotes environmental program

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 13, 2016

 Residents and political leaders listen to the State of the Township April 4.

Residents and political leaders listen to the State of the Township April 4.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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WEST BLOOMFIELD —  Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste held the seventh annual State of the Township address April 4, at which she welcomed new and future businesses, promoted the township’s RiverSafe program and highlighted the public safety departments.

West Bloomfield Township is now home to the following businesses: Get Juiced of West Bloomfield, Made Studio + Market, The Exercise Coach, Cycle & Row, Eyeglass World, Trainers Total Fitness, Naked Fuel Juice Bar, Jersey Bagels & Deli, Road Runner Sports, Hampton Inn West Bloomfield-Southfield, and Axis Music Academy. 

Upcoming business expansions have also been proposed — a tea room for the Planterra Conservatory and a three-story building on the existing All Seasons West Bloomfield site, adding 30 apartment units. 

“To accommodate these developments, the township joined the Oakland County One Stop Ready program to continue to streamline the building permit process and improve cross-departmental communications between building and environmental service functions,” Economou Ureste said. 

In 2015, the township Building Department reviewed and issued 4,530 permits, which is up from 4,472 in 2014. Four commercial building permits were processed in 2015. 

Once again, the township will promote the RiverSafe program, which was adopted in 2010. 

“It was developed to encourage more environmentally friendly products to be used around the home. Since our township is home to a natural conveyance system comprised of 28 lakes, 150 ponds, 2,500 acres of woodlands and 1,500 acres of wetlands, a greater commitment by all to minimize or eliminate the use of phosphorus fertilizers and pesticides is critical in maintaining these unique and cherished environmental features,” Economou Ureste said during the address at Town Hall. 

To become a RiverSafe home, residents are asked to complete an online survey after reviewing information online about why people should be concerned about stormwater pollution, and how a commitment to reducing pollution starts with each household.

Upon completing the survey and committing to being proactive in protecting the waterways, wetlands and woodlands, RiverSafe homes will receive a plaque to be displayed outside. For more information, visit www.wbtownship.org. 

The general fund budget includes revenues of $21.3 million in 2016 and $26.6 million in 2017. Expenditures are estimated at $24.2 million for 2016 and $28.2 million in 2017, Economou Ureste said. The fund balance for the general fund is projected at approximately $12.3 million in 2016 and $10.6 million in 2017.

Economou Ureste said that the largest fund expenditures include not only bonding estimates for the Orchard Lake Boulevard project, but the Maple Road reconstruction between Orchard Lake and Haggerty roads, and capital improvement projects, including the reconstruction of Fire Station No. 3.

Fire Chief Greg Flynn said the township is currently requesting proposals for the fire station, which is located on Green Lake Road. 

“We’re looking for the architect that will put a proposal together who will say, ‘This is what it will look like and this is how much it is going to cost the township to do it,’” Flynn said. 

Station No. 3 is the township’s oldest fire station, and Flynn said it is not an adequate size for day-to-day operations and is in need of “serious renovations.” 

In 2015, the Fire Department, which also serves the tri-cities, had 7,915 calls for service, compared to 7,996 in 2014, Economou Ureste said.

Flynn attributed the decrease to prevention techniques that the department has been implementing. For instance, the Fire Department is working with residents on their alarm systems to minimize the number of false alarms, and crew members are encouraging residents to follow up with doctors to “stay on a good regimen with their care plan so they’re not in a situation where they call 911.”

In addition, the 2015 winter season was milder than the 2014 winter season, which Flynn said was good for the township because it minimized the amount of damage and need for assistance. 

“We see it as a good thing,” Flynn said about the decrease. The Fire Department has also increased training hours, totaling 5,390 hours for 2015.

“We’re definitely not sitting with idle hands, that’s for sure,” Flynn said. 

In 2015, the West Bloomfield Police Department responded to 20,869 calls for service, compared to 17,638 in 2014. Economou Ureste noted that like the Fire Department, the Police Department receives calls and dispatches police for the tri-cities. 

“Last year, West Bloomfield Township was ranked eighth on the list of Michigan’s safest cities,” Economou Ureste said. This was an improvement from 12th place the year prior, she added.

West Bloomfield is the second- largest municipality in Michigan’s top 20 safest cities and is the safest municipality of a population of at least 60,000, she said. 

At noon on April 26, the Police Department will honor five Michigan law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty at the annual memorial ceremony. The ceremony will take place in front of the Police Department, located at 4530 Walnut Lake Road. Two deceased officers from Washington and South Carolina who have ties to Michigan, and six federal officers who were killed overseas fighting the war on terror will also be honored.

To watch the entire State of the Township address, visit www.civiccentertv.com.

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