Lake County Township Association holds first meeting of 2023

CHASE — Despite the snowy winter evening drive, township officials from through Lake County drove to Chase Township Hall for the Lake County Township Association last week.

This quarterly meeting is agreed by those who attend to be a beneficial time of discussion, and learning what is happening in other townships and throughout the county.

Some county officials and organizations are generally represented to pass along information to the townships. During this past meeting, all townships but two were represented at the meeting.

In the first order of business, an organizational meeting took place to appoint officers on the Lake County Township Association board. The officers stayed the same, with Ernie Wogatzke as president, Lori Jeffrey as treasurer and George Supernois as secretary.

Lake County Commissioner Chris Balulis was invited to speak and give an update about county matters.

"The annual ORV meeting will be Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. in the commissioner's room. Townships will be contacted," Balulis said. "The county is updating the 2023 master plan. We went through budget season, have a couple of new commissioners and new appointments to committees to get the process set up for the year."

Balulis also said the county is hiring in 911 Central Dispatch, and a new material management program from EGLE will be coming, pertaining to waste, recycling and concerns of that nature.

The Lake County Economic Development has a lot going on, such as 876 coming to Baldwin, being able to keep Batcke's boat business in the county, and there is a grant process to get the old Gambles building in Baldwin to come down, she added. 

Balulis encouraged townships to point residents to the opportunities provided by Michigan Works!

"Michigan Works! has grants, and we are sending a second officer to school through Michigan Works! They are way more than walking through an office and finding a job," she said.

Road Commission Director LeRoy Williams, along with road commissioners Gary Truxton and Rick Haslock, touched base. Williams said the county has extended the match program for three years for townships improving their roads. He also said they hired a 20-year-old woman from Irons, who got her CDL, full time.

Wogatzke, with the county planning and the parks and recreation departments, said the county is updating their master plan, also adding combating invasive species to the plan. The Parks and Rec plan to break ground on the ORV training facility in the spring.

Among points of discussion, a Chase resident expressed interest in seeing the Pere Marquette Rail Trail paved through the county, as the trail, which is built of a crushed limestone material, runs through several townships and is a recreational source for people within the county or passing through the county.

In-person voting also was discussed as well as township classes hosted by the county.  Those present expressed it would be helpful for state representation to be at the meeting in the future.

Sauble Township volunteered to host the next Lake County Township Association meeting at 7 p.m. April 27, at Sauble Township Hall.