Williamston City Council held its bi-monthly meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss management of microplastic pollution in local water, absentee ballots being on the rise in Williamston, and its search to fill the vacant spot on the board.
When reached the audience participation portion of the agenda, executive director of the Ingham Conservation District, Michelle Beloskur, approached the podium. In the effort to reduce microplastics in the water, Beloskur is working with Smart Management of Microplastic Pollution in the Great Lakes to provide mesh laundry bags to Williamston residents and inform community officials on the effects of microplastic pollution.
The community is a year into the three-year project and a new prototype of a sensor has just been created. The sensor will exist in the pipes and can detect how much microplastic and what kind is in the water. The goal is to have four sensors stationed in the city by next year, making Williamston one of the main hubs of the study.
“Williamston was on board pretty early on,” said Beloskur. “I just figured with the Red Cedar running through town and the treatment plant being here, it makes for a lot of interesting components to looking at that pollution.”
Also on the agenda was the rising popularity of absentee voters and applications. Williamston residents received a mail-back pamphlet from the city to be placed on the Permanent Absent Voter List for the 2020 election. The city’s goal is to improve voter turnout.
In the most recent election, out of the city’s roughly 3,800 residents “about 300 show up to vote,” said Mayor Tammy Gilroy. “I’d hope that maybe this gives people more opportunity to vote,” said Gilroy. “I’d love to see the percentage go up.”
Mayor Pro-Tem John Bisard agreed with Gilroy.
“Especially the ones for the school or special elections, where you get low voter turnout, it will hopefully increase that,” said Bisard.
The board members also discussed the vacant spot on the board. Jeff Gorsline, Kent Hall, John Magee and Jeff Roland introduced themselves individually to the audience, most of them have been Williamston residents for over a decade, some of them, like Hall, have even served on the city council before.
“I saw there was an opening and I wanted to make myself available,” said Hall. “If you’ve got someone that has not served and maybe it’s time for someone else, that’s fine with me. You won’t hurt my feelings.”
Despite their different job expertise, life experiences, ages and personalities, something that’s shared among the men is their appreciation for the city of Williamston. Under “Reason for Desire to Serve” on their applications, the candidates mentioned the importance the city has had on them, the care they are willing to invest into it and the significance of giving back to their city.
The vacant spot has been just that since Sept. 23 and board members are anticipating the announcement of the newest candidate at the next meeting on Oct. 28.