Sylvan Township appoints a new clerk

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Sylvan Township Hall

The Sylvan Township Board is whole again with the appointment of Amanda Nimke Ballard to the role of clerk.

Former clerk Kathleen Kennedy was appointed in early May to the role of township supervisor and was sworn into her new role on May 26, which left the clerk role officially vacant.

By a unanimous vote of the township board at its June 1 meeting, Nimke Ballard was appointed to the role that is critically important to daily township operations, such as paying the bills and invoices, while also running elections and being a voting member of the board.

Nimke Ballard has been serving as the township’s Deputy Clerk. She had sought a seat on the township board during the general election this past November.

It was noted that she was the only person that came forward and expressed interest in filling the clerk vacancy.

After the vote of the board, Nimke Ballard thanked them for the opportunity.

Both positions (supervisor and clerk) will be on the same ballot with the Governor's races in 2022, August (Primary) and November (General).

According to her township board candidate website, Nimke Ballard was raised on a farm in Sylvan Township and graduated from Chelsea High School in 1992. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Michigan State University and went on to pursue a holistic career as a clinical massage therapist, earning her national certification in 1999.

She and her husband and children live on the family farm in Sylvan.

Amanda Nimke Ballard. photo from Nimke Ballard's township candidate website

"I look forward to collaborating with residents, township staff, and officials to find sensible solutions to the complex issues we face in Sylvan Township," Nimke Ballard told The Sun Times News. "As the Sylvan Township Representative on the Washtenaw County Broadband Taskforce it has been a great experience to work with other township representatives to facilitate a county-wide effort to bring broadband to every residence in Sylvan Township and the County at large."

Looking ahead and in thinking about goals for herself and the township, she said they have numerous issues with the sewer and water system, "and I think we now have the momentum to deal more directly and proactively with some of them."

"A majority of our township is rural," she said. "I spoke with hundreds of residents over the past year from all areas of the township, and it is this rural character that draws many people, both long-time residents and those who have moved here recently. I want to manage growth with a priority to preserve our rural character and protect our existing communities."   

She said the 2017 Township Master Plan was drafted with little resident input from a broad consensus of residents, which she thinks has left open some development proposals that would undermine their communities. 

"I want to begin working on the next draft of our Master Plan with a focus on redefining our future land use to better reflect what residents want for their own communities," she said. "I would like to facilitate educating land owners on what land preservation options are available as another tool to protect our rural character."

She said they also need to update some of their ordinances to allow more flexibility for residents.

In other township news, the Sylvan Township Board unanimously approved sending a letter to the city of Chelsea expressing its desire to explore working together. Former supervisor David Brooks had started a process of looking into working with Chelsea, where possible, and this letter is an important step forward with this.

The letter, addressed to Chelsea Mayor Melissa Johnson and City Manager John Hanifan, states:

“The Sylvan Township Board supports working with the City of Chelsea to explore mutually beneficial regional concepts, including water and sewer utilities. We offer our signatures on this letter in a show of good faith.”

And finally in other news, the township board also adopted a resolution expressing its support for the Washtenaw County desire and plan to get broadband fiber to every home in the county.

According to the resolution, the county plan would utilize stimulus funding from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to work toward making this a reality.

The township's resolution states, in part, “The Sylvan Township Board of Trustees, encourages the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners to allocate ARP funding to a high-speed broadband public/private partnership that serves to connect every home and business in Washtenaw County, thus achieving true high-speed broadband equity and is conducive to the development and implementation of a robust, affordable and sustainable high speed broadband service for Sylvan Township.”

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