Budget message: A Conservative Approach Yields Large Returns

Every four years, the Meridian Township voters are faced with Township Board elections. With the draft budget before the current board next Tuesday, I want to take this moment to acknowledge some of the major fiscal accomplishments that have benefited the residents of Meridian Township.

The current Township Board has worked collectively to respond rapidly to two major storms (December 21, 2013 and July 8, 2016), ongoing management of the Chronic Wasting Disease and increasing the general fund balance by $1,300,000. Maintaining unparalleled public safety has been the hallmark of this Board. Since 2012, the Board allocated funds to purchase all new turnout gear for the fire department and body worn cameras for the police department. Additionally, they responded to the call for school safety with improvements on Kinawa Drive near Chippewa Middle School.

Thanks to the voters in Meridian Township the new Central Fire Station opened on February 1, 2016. Plans are in place this year for each of the three fire stations to be equipped with an ambulance. The safety of our residents is of utmost importance.

Our park system is well known throughout the region and state as the model to reach for. We salute the outstanding relationship between our voters, the Park Commission and the Township Board. Over the past 4 years, the Meridian Township parks system has reached new heights. With the improvements to Brattin Woods Park, Central Park, Ferguson Park, Hartrick Park, Hillbrook Park, Nancy Moore Park, North Meridian Road Park, Newton Road Park, Orlando Park, Wonch Park, and the Harris Nature Center and Meridian Historical Village; Meridian Township Parks have become a destination for visitors.

With the exception of the Central Fire Station, all of this was accomplished with no tax increases and no additional debt burden for our taxpayers.

We have our ongoing challenges; however, at every turn we stepped up to the plate and worked as a group to provide first-rate customer service and an overwhelmingly compassionate response during our two major storms. The governing body found a way to commit a $1,000,000 in additional funding to the MERS pension fund and increased local road funding by $100,000 per year. Addressing increased pensions will be continued challenge facing us in the years ahead.

The 2017 draft budget is being presented before the Township Board on September 6. The Township Board should be acknowledged and thanked for their passion, loyalty and exemplary public service to the community these past four years. The public is invited and welcomed to attend the Township Board Budget Meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Read the recommended 2017 budget proposal available online.

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2016 Township Plan

Fire truckOver the past few months our TEAM has drafted a 2016 Action Plan and Strategic Plan including Township-wide projects. The Township Board has spent hours vetting the goals and objectives to create a unified blueprint for 2016. I want to give credit to the board and staff for their hard work, passion and determination put into this massive undertaking. We have not seen anything like this yet and we look forward to our commitment that our efforts are in line with continuing to make Meridian a Community of Choice.
Continue reading “2016 Township Plan”

Pardon our Dust: Township Improvements

premier dance

Today, we welcome another new business to the Township, Premier Dance Company in Haslett who is hosting a grand opening tonight. We’re happy to be a community of choice for businesses and we’re happy to see these openings as a sign of the economy going up and thriving in Meridian Township. We appreciate the investments new and long-time established businesses have made in redeveloping sites that were vacant, signing new lease agreements where space was once vacant, as well as upgrading and renovating existing sites. Continue reading “Pardon our Dust: Township Improvements”

Reinvesting in Meridian: Downtown Okemos- A Catalyst for Change

Fire station for saleThe interest shown for the downtown Okemos property where The MARC and former Central Fire Station structures sit on Okemos Road has drawn considerable interest. Given the amount of attention the site has received, the Township Board will be keeping the vision of the Township in mind when considering developers for the site. Making positive changes to the area will require keeping that vision at the forefront while also selecting a developer who is financially stable, has an outstanding reputation, and will develop the site to match the Township’s future master plan.For Sale The MARC

In order to accomplish this, we formed a small committee consisting of economic developers, 2-3 Township Board members, Planning Commissioners, a member of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and a resident of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) neighborhood. There are many development opportunities in the region and the Township is honored to have developers show high interest in the property. The goal is to have mixed use development for commercial and residential, which will hopefully have a coattail effect on other area businesses. With just 18 units allowed, the ability for a developer to make the numbers work is rather difficult, but we are confident we will be able to move forward as we’ve seen businesses continually show confidence that Meridian is a community of choice. We believe a developer will see the value of choosing this site in downtown Okemos and will make Meridian their choice.

 Downtown OkemosTentative Downtown Okemos Redevelopment Project Timeline:

Committee formed May 7th

Evaluate proposals in May

Final selection by the Township Board in June

Planning Commission and Township Board site plan approval process remainder of 2015

Construction in 2016

Keeping the project moving forward will be imperative for rebuilding this section of the Township and attracting people to the area. Downtown Okemos is one of the major focal points of the community and we are focusing on what we can do with this project which will be a catalyst for a redevelopment in the area.

Groundbreaking the Next Phase for Meridian’s New Central Fire Station

Fire groundbreaking photo edited lettersizeAs we enter April 2015, we take an important step in Meridian Township history by celebrating the groundbreaking for the new Central Fire Station. This project started under the leadership of our former Township Manager Jerry Richards who led the millage campaign and was instrumental in planning the fire station.

The project could not have happened without Jerry and the many people that we have here today to share the history of the station and all the work that we’ve done to get here. I would like to share some of the kind words from Bob Hammer, a 92 year old resident and friend of the township:

“Congratulations on a really fine groundbreaking ceremony. It certainly seemed well attended. You and other township officials and staff have worked many long hours on this project and I am one ordinary citizen who wants you to know your work is appreciated. I felt out of place being remembered on a program with so many who have done so much, but I do thank you. Thank you!”

Please enjoy this video and the rest of Mr. Hammer’s story at our groundbreaking ceremony that is a symbol of moving forward in Meridian Township.

Meridian Cares

Meridian Cares logo without fundraiser

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving feast it is always a solemn reminder that many people are not as fortunate and a hot meal or paying an electric bill is beyond their normal means. Meridian Township is blessed to offer an assistance program to those in need. The “Community Resource Needs Fund” is overseen by the Community Resource Commission and Human Service Specialist Darla Jackson.

Darla’s days are filled with trying to lift up those in need. Lately, the ability to lift the spirits and help have become increasingly difficult because the needs fund is at an all-time low. This potentially leaves some of our Meridian residents without. We never want that to happen and we never want to turn someone away. We never want to tell someone we cannot help with a shutoff notice during their time of need.

Without some type of help the fund will not be able to assist our residents in need through the winter. That is why the Meridian Cares Program was founded and designed a community wide effort for team members, community members and business owners to raise funds and help families.

Members of the Meridian Cares Team and the Meridian Township Board are donating gift baskets to be raffled off during our annual Holiday party. Community members can join us by purchasing raffle tickets, business owners can donate gift baskets to support the effort and place a flyer in their windows. Our Meridian Cares goal is to present a $3,000 check to the Human Resource Commission on December 17th, 2014.

One of the unique qualities anyone would learn quickly about Meridian Township is that as a community of choice, we continually choose to help our families, friends, and neighbors. I thank our community for stepping up and helping the cause. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.Meridian Cares Twitter Banner

Meridian Answers Call to Ice Storm

cropped-frankwalsh.jpg
Frank Walsh
Township Manager

 

 

Dear Meridian Township Residents,

The Meridian Township TEAM is very concerned for the residents of Meridian Township and the havoc that the ice storm has declared  on  many of the families. We expect residents to be without power for up to 5-6 more days depending on the weather forecast. We are  declaring  a State of Emergency as the high sustained winds forecasted for Wednesday, combined with the ice, will only lead to more  power  outages. Our Emergency Manager (Chief Cowper) is returning from his vacation to assist in the emergency response.

This morning the Meridian Township TEAM met to discuss our next step in dealing with the ice crisis that has gripped the Greater  Lansing area. Over the weekend we worked with the Haslett Public School system and opened a WARMING CENTER at HASLETT HIGH SCHOOL at 11am. The center will be open 24/7 until further notice. We are providing water and some snacks for our residents. Consumers Energy estimates more than 20,000 customers are without power in in their service area and Lansing Board of Water and Light estimate up to 35,000 customers without power in their service area. We will continue to further our efforts to help our most vulnerable residents.

Haslett High School
Haslett High School courtesy Lansing State Journal

We are also working with the Meridian Township Board to develop a plan of action to address the vast amount of branches and limbs throughout our neighborhoods. I appreciate the swift response from our Township Board and our very capable Management Team.

We are here to serve you. Our staff will continue to work around the clock for the safety of your families. Please continue to check the Meridian Township website for updates www.meridian.mi.us  

Residents are reminded that they can stay warm during the day at Meijer, Meridian Mall, Kohls, Target, and other shopping areas during the day during regular business hours. We want to make sure that our residents know there is a place of shelter for them.

Sincerely,

Frank Walsh, Meridian Township Manager