Scio Township's plan for the public's tax dollars

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Scio Township kicks off a new budget year on April 1.

The financial plan is highlighted by the ways the local government will aim to try and put the community’s tax dollars to good use.

Government number crunching, revenues and costs might not always be the hottest topic in everyday conversations, but they are important, especially after paying one’s tax bill.

After a closer look at Scio’s budget plan, one can see the benefits the township hopes to bring to the community in the coming months.

In introducing the new budget to the township board, Scio Township Supervisor Will Hathaway probably said it best when talking about a big goal of the budget and what it means.

“In the following pages, you will find an explanation of the township’s use of public dollars to maintain and extend the township’s infrastructure and provide necessary services,” Hathaway said in his budget letter to the board. “It is the outline for work the township plans to accomplish on behalf of our residents in the year ahead.”

After approving the budget, Scio Township officials said they’re excited to continue work begun by the township in prior years, which includes moving forward with the major renovation of the Fire Station, repairing local roads and investing in the preservation of land.

Hathaway said voter support for the 2020 parks and pathways millage will open more of the protected lands for the public to enjoy while millage funds will also help extend the pathway further north on Zeeb Road towards the Border-to-Border trail.

“We will also build sidewalk so that pedestrians can safely make their way along Parkland Plaza,” he said.

These are just a few of the budget highlights that connect with its overall planning.

The budget plan will also see township internships created to the help with climate/sustainability, parks/pathways, and the Gelman groundwater contamination plume.

Hathaway said they also added funds to support the ongoing efforts to fight an invasive species, Japanese Stiltgrass.

“This plant somehow chose Scio Township as the place to establish itself in Michigan,” according to Hathaway.

The key things the community should know about the 2021-22 budget, Hathway said…

“Are: 1) the public process that was used to formulate the budget is a big step forward in terms of transparency, 2) the format of the budget document gives the public a lot more information in a form that is more accessible, and 3) this is just the first step in the Township's work to improve the budget process.”

Although the budget process was different this year with the constraints imposed by COVID, Hathaway said more people were involved virtually. He said they had more discussion and increased opportunities for input with much of the budget formulation done in public meetings.

He points to the help of others in making this a good process and said many people were involved in creating this budget.

“I want to thank the volunteers who serve on our advisory boards and committees, the dedicated staff at Township Hall and the Fire Station who have adapted so well to the measures that keep everyone safe from the virus, and the Board of Trustees who took office during a pandemic and learned how to serve together as elected officials,” Hathaway said.

In particular, he said he wanted to thank township clerk Jessica Flintoft,“for envisioning an improved budget process and for enlisting the expertise of Karen Lancaster from the Woodhill Group to implement that vision.”

“Kudos to them both for bringing this project to fruition,” said Hathaway. “The township is positioned to work more effectively as a result of their hard work and leadership.”

To see more of the township budget go to the website at https://www.sciotownship.org/.

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