File photo by Deb Jacques

West Bloomfield Township departments discuss biannual reports

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 26, 2018

WEST BLOOMFIELD — West Bloomfield Township government departments submitted their biannual reports to the Board of Trustees Jan. 22. 

“We are pleased with the performance of our employees,” said Township Supervisor Steve Kaplan. “Morale is high at Town Hall, mainly because the elected officials and the department heads treat the employees with respect.”

• Assessing Department officials reported that they are continually working to assess property quickly and efficiently with the latest assessing technology, and that staff does an “outstanding” job managing the work the department receives. 

In the submission, Township Assessor Robert Scripture said that the department appreciates the continued support of the township board. 

• The Code Enforcement Department reported that activities for 2017 were similar to those in 2016, albeit with a small decrease in total caseload. Code Enforcement Manager Erik Beauchamp attributed that to a 13 percent reduction in residential complaints.

• Katherine Ghannam, finance and budget director for the Finance Department, reported that the department completed the 2016 audit during the last half of 2017 and is now preparing for its 2017 audit, as well as reviewing new requirements and improving procedures within the department. 

Ghannam said that last year, a lot of effort was put into improving processing and budget awareness, and they will continue their training programs in 2018.

• The Information Systems Department, led by Director Harry Palmer, reported that the department is in good shape, there were no significant events during the last half of 2017 and they continue to look at security improvements. For 2018, the department has set out goals of installing new cameras and software, updating software and hardware, and redesigning the West Bloomfield Township website. 

• Amy Neary, Planning Department director, said that the department is working to improve zoning and use regulations to streamline the development review and approval process.

• West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton reported that in the last half of 2017, there were 806 “Part I” crimes, which are crimes defined by the FBI as the most serious offenses; 181 “Part II” crimes, which are less serious but still significant; 10,596 “Part III” crimes, which include traffic offenses and noncriminal complaints; and 1,124 accidents, including traffic accidents and property damage incidents.

The numbers reported by the Police Department are similar to numbers from previous years at the same time. 

• The Water Utilities Department, led by Director Ed Haapala, continues to work with the Great Lakes Water Authority on a new water supply contract. 

“Town Hall is an important hub for our residents,” said Township Clerk Debbie Binder. “Our residents benefit from having department heads (who) are adept at prudently managing budgets and maximizing services. ... We are fortunate to have the staff we have who continue to keep the township productive.” 

The board voted unanimously to accept the reports from the departments.