Antwerp Twp. seeks change at county road commission to rebuild public trust

Paul Garrod -

    ANTWERP TWP. - The Antwerp Township Board went on record recently supporting a letter asking for change at the Van Buren County Road Commission.
    Following two road millage request defeats last year by the Van Buren County Road Commission, the Antwerp Township Board stated in its Jan. 30 letter, “The Van Buren County Road Commission Board and Mr. Hummel  should set aside such failed ideas, and focus instead on doing business as the voters and taxpayers expect.”
    The letter stated, “Real change  will be needed to again earn public support. To address historic concerns, and to rebuild confidence  in VBCRC, we recommend focus on improvements in several areas.”
        The township board presented three main areas, with three sub-headings under each one. It reads:
    “1. Demonstrate respect for the community by listening to local units of government.
    “A. Revisit all policies to permit partnerships with Townships, specifically to grant municipalities the right to bid and contract for projects.
    “B. Cooperate with municipalities on the eastern side of the  county to build a maintenance garage to allow better service and earlier snowplowing times in higher population areas.
    “C. Establish new allocation methods to provide more appropriate funding for primary and secondary roads throughout the county.
    “2. Exhibit fiscal responsibility by controlling costs and limiting expenditures.
    “A. Review the need for out-of-state conference and distant in-state conferences.
    “B. Pause all capital purchases until a long-range plan and funding are well established.
    C. Re-evaluate all VBCRC staff positions and contract services, including attorneys, accountants, and others.
    “3. Recognize and address improprieties by reviewing certain policies and practices.
    “A. Perform cost analysis for VBCRC vehicles used now for personal commuting.
    “B. Consider the value of a residency clause in the engineer-manager position.
    “C. Confirm the staff paid by Van Buren County  are working in Van Buren County and for Van Buren County - not elsewhere, and not for  other entities  (including CRAM).”
    The letter concluded,”Showing more respect for individual municipalities’ priorities and resources will help VBCRC become more trusted and effective in coming years.”

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