By Diamond Henry
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff reporter
BATH — Bath Township leaders have a pretty clear idea as to how residents want to pay for community needs: using grants and existing township funds. That’s according to Bath Charter Township’s recently-published results of a community survey regarding the township’s strategic plan. Once sent out to the community, citizens recorded votes and opinions based on the plans and goals given and how to go about them. Citizen results showed that “grants” and “leveraging existing Township funds” were the most popular results as to how to pay for the goals. Ryan Soucy, the Planning Director of the Bath Township Board of Trustees discussed the strategic plan, the community survey and the goals the township is hoping to accomplish.
BATH – As the state grapples with how to fix its crumbling roads, Bath Township has budgeted some short-term pothole relief. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced a $54-billion state budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Feb. 11 that included $113 million in general fund spending for roads and bridges in Michigan. There is also an upcoming May ballot initiative for an additional $1.2 billion annually that would go toward the state’s worsening motor pathways. In its most recent available annual report, the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council indicated that that “at current investment levels, the condition of both roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate.” The report also showed that 33% of Michigan’s federal-aid eligible roads are in “poor” condition.
Bath Township’s board members were caught by surprise during their board meeting March 17 when Aaron Stevens, CPA for Abraham and Gaffney accounting firm, presented the 2013 unaudited budget to the board revealing the township’s budget was $720,822 “in the red.”
Stevens mentioned that certain revenue and expenditure line items would be adjusted during the actual audit, although the budget will “probably not” end in the black. Trustee Ryan Fewins-Bliss believes final audited numbers will be “pretty darn close” to the unaudited ones. It was evident during the board meeting that it was unclear why the budget was $700,000 over or who should be held responsible. “No one was keeping track of the checkbook,” said trustee Cindy Cronk. “No one wants to answer why this happened.”
The confusion and passing of blame had some local citizens concerned about how the township’s budget was being handled.
Clark became a Bath trustee in 2008 and witnessed growth in Bath ever since. She said big progress that has been made has been a growing library and farmers’ market; all the needed property for the Park Lake project has been purchased; and workers have begun raising Park Lake’s water level by two feet. Supporting the township’s growth, Treasurer Jeff Garrity said Bath “grew 54 percent” last decade, the second fastest growing town in Michigan during that period. New Role
Following the death of Supervisor Tom Schneider in November 2011, Clark was appointed to fill the position. The following year, Clark was elected to supervisor.
Mark Twain wrote in his novel “Huckleberry Finn” that “God made the idiot for practice, and then he made the school board.” Bath’s Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 26 at Bath High School, took on the tone of Twain’s statement. The meeting focused on appreciating the school board by distributing gift bags to each board member and displaying thank you cards from students in the Bath School District. Video appreciation
Bath first-graders shared their thanks in a video in which they sing “we appreciate you.”
Bath Charter Township set forth a proposal for a new millage for a public library that went to a vote yesterday, Nov. 5. The millage, which will support an independent public library, is set to collect $89,000 each year of property taxes and is set to go through 2016. The millage will only support the functioning of the new public library. Bath held five polling locations throughout the town for yesterday’s vote.
The American people will soon face the repercussions of recent governmental changes. From the Affordable Care Act to recent cuts in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, many people will find their lives changed, including folks who live within the two small Michigan towns of Bath and Dewitt. Affordable Health Care Act effects many
Tom Isanhart, auxiliary member at the Dewitt Veterans of Foreign Wars, says that the Affordable Health Care Act has not yet affected him. “It won’t affect me much, but it’ll effect everyone else,” said Isanhart. “Many will lose coverage because their employers would rather pay the fines than pay the costs of coverage.”
With food stamps being cut earlier this month, many are concerned by the loss of meals for families.
Bath is set to welcome a new addition that could potentially open doors for many of the citizens – their own library center. Bath Library Center, a satellite site of Dewitt District Library, will be a small library located within Bath Corners shopping mall. It will offer a wide selection of books for children while working to serve older age groups. Brought together largely by volunteering efforts and donations, the soon to open Bath Library was granted a budget to open. Bath Township Board gave a total of $75,000 to open and supply the center with books and equipment.
The holiday of Halloween might have once been a night dedicated to those of youth, but has become a time for adults. Many wonder where children come into play for this once youthful holiday. Bath Township, a small rural town where door to door trick or treating is close to impossible, is set to hold an annual event where kids are the focus of the night. Truck or Treat, once centered on an opportunity for large trucks and rigs to appear in a car show as well as provide treats for kids, will be held at the Bath Elementary school parking lot. ““It gives an opportunity, especially in some rural areas, for kids to trick or treat,” said Bath Elementary principal Zachary Strickler.
In today’s impersonal world, where people often buy their food at a supermarket, a farmer’s market can help create a special sense of community. Dru Montri, the owner of Ten Hens Farm in Bath and the director of the Michigan Farmer’s Market Association, was approached to help begin the Bath Farmer’s Market in 2010. “I think people in the town were starved for something to happen,” said Jeff Garrity, the owner of Laughing Crane Farm, which maintains a booth at the market. Garrity, who is also the township treasurer, said that a total of 53 people showed up at the initial organizing meeting, a significant turnout for a town of roughly 2,000. Towns across the nation are set up in neighborhoods, supermarkets and impersonal settings.