Bertrand Township embraces technologyPublished 10:32pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The new administration at Bertrand Township has only been in place for four months but it has already brought the township into the 21st century.
In May, voters ousted ex-Supervisor John Mefford and trustee Dick Haigh from office in a recall election. Scott Bonner and Alice Kring, the new supervisor and trustee, have been instrumental in developments in technology at the township.
Bertrand Township launched its first website (www.bertrandtownship.com) in September as a way to post area events, board meeting agendas and minutes and contact information.
“We’d never had one until that point,” said Clerk Jane Lano. “There was a little bit of resistance before. With the new administration, it was one of the first things we tackled.”
Then in November, the township introduced a Facebook page as another resource of information and a way to encourage community interaction. So far, the page has 71 followers.
Bonner is also forming a committee to research opportunities to bring high-speed internet to as many residents as possible.
“There are some dead spots in the township where no service is available,” Lano said. “We have a couple of individuals who are enthusiastic in looking for different options out there for us.”
Possibly more important than the new technology, according to Lano, is the new culture that has developed at the township hall. Arguments and rifts between township board members over the past several years have been well documented, but Lano said unity has been strengthened since the new board members have taken office.
“We have a wonderful township board working with a great sense of purpose and unity,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful change.”
The township also completed renovations to its community building in 2011. The building, constructed in 1890, got repainted and updated with safety improvements.
“It had been neglected for many years,” Lano said.
The building can be rented at a rate of $50.
Another accomplishment in 2011 was entering into a three-year contract with the State of Michigan to perform the township’s annual audit, coming at a substantial cost savings to its previous auditor.
Looking at 2012, Lano said there are no major challenges for the township, which is in solid shape financially. The township plans to collect its own summer taxes this year. In the past, the county has collected the taxes for Bertrand for a fee. Mefford and Haigh were recalled for supporting allowing the county to collect the taxes last year.