2018-01-11 / Front Page

Goals and plans for the New Year

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Township Superintendent Dennis Liimatta and the township staff will be keeping busy in the new year based on their list of goals and objectives. While initial stages of the Master Plan update began last week, here are other items which will be keeping them busy.

First, the most recent addition to the staff takes the form of new fulltime Director of Planning and Building, Mark Lloyd who started Jan. 3 and who will be an essential team member along with planning consultants Giffels-Webster. Lloyd comes to the township after holding similar positions with a variety of private firms and municipalities from California and Michigan, Liimatta reported.

In conjunction with the planned construction of the Dort Highway extension, the township’s efforts to establish the public-private-partnership of Technology Village is moving forward. Liimatta stated they have received “a great deal of interest from several developers and prospective end-users or tenants interested in locating their businesses here”.

The property, at S. Saginaw and Baldwin roads is nearing a completed appraisal, making it available for interested developers to pursue financial feasibility studies. Combined with the previously completed market assessment study, conceptual plan layout, and adopted zoning changes the plan is almost shovel ready Liimatta said.

Based on previous plans for the Dort Highway extension, long-term plans include widening Baldwin Road from the Dort Highway extension to Holly as a boulevard. This then connects Genesys development to Technology Village.

In other news, the township will be implementing a Performance Management Program to improve on our transparency initiatives enabling the community and elected officials to see how well they perform against local, regional and national benchmarks across all departments. “Agreeing on measurement metrics that are relevant to individual departments improves fact-based and performance-based decision making,” Liimatta said. “This results in increased efficiency in operations and increased confidence in long range planning.”

Additionally, the board of trustees has approved increased spending in employee training for 2018, with a goal of increasing staff responsiveness to residents and businesses in their daily contacts.

Liimatta stated this will include an emphasis on “improving our already noteworthy customer service skills, as well as workplace safety, enhanced communication and conflict resolution.” We will continue to have a focus on maintaining our same level of services to taxpayers, and aggressively managing our long term unfunded retiree benefit obligations to insure we can deliver on our promises to employees and residents, he added.

Recent votes by the trustees have approved investment changes and negotiated employment contracts which have resulted in multi-million dollar improvements in the long-term financial standing which Liimatta intends to continue in 2018.

Improvements will be expanded at the Creasy Bicentennial Park with the expenditure of the voter approved millage funds making an additional $304,000.00 of capital projects possible. These are anticipated to include improvements and upgrades to the softball fields, pavilions, splash-pad, maintenance pole barn, new mower, and picnic tables and trash receptacles.

The 2008-12 economic downturn resulted in decreased funding to many millage driven operations county wide, and certainly to the Grand Blanc Fire Department, Liimatta said, resulting in the inability to fund capital needs like vehicles. A millage request will be on the ballot in 2018 to request voter approval for increased funding to allow for continued operations and capital purchases.

Information on these and many other aspects of the township’s planning, as well as contact information for your elected officials is available on the township website at http://www.twp.grandblanc.mi.us/ — P.S.

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