The View From the Cheap Seats 6-19

The View From the Cheap Seats
By: Al

Happy June, Concord! Here’s hoping this ‘news’ letter finds you well, happy and prosperous and budding along with the coming of spring! There is much ado here in our little metropolis, so let’s hop to it, shall we?

New Business Start Ups: (Here we grow again!!!)

After a thorough remodeling of the old hair salon on M-60, Dr. Whitney Smith opened her Concord Chiropractic Clinic to great fanfare last month. The address is: Concord Chiropractic, 119 W Jackson Rd, Concord, MI 49237 (517) 524-2225. She is a graduate of the Palmer School and eager to see new patients!

MSA 360 Transport/Hammer Lane Leasing are relocating their Cornell Rd. operations facility to the property on M-60 @ North Concord Rd. They are waiting on rezoning and permitting to construct a large service building to maintain their growing fleet. They provide trucking service primarily to local agribusiness and aggregate processors. MSA 360

As we all know, viable business is the lifeblood of any community and ours is no exception. In a small town as far removed from major metropolitan areas as we are, it is absolutely imperative that we go out of our way to support our local businesses – even if it costs us a few pennies more to do it! Money spent here stays here, and goes to support our parks, our schools, our events, our sports programs, our kids, our elderly, you know…us! Our community! If we don’t make it work, it won’t.

Road Report:

Robert Frost once said: “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” Since he came of driving age right around 1900, I often wonder what made him take the one over the other – was it the size and amount of potholes? Nevertheless, here, closer to home….

We signed a contract with JDOT a couple of months ago to effect what road repairs we could with the funding we have available. I’ve published the agreement in its entirety on several occasions and you can find a copy of the contract here: JDOT-Conctact-2019 Further, I have communicated with the JDOT office to see how things are progressing and this is the reply I received from them last week:

JCDOT is using a majority of the allotted asphalt, for Concord Township, to help subsidize the contracted work being done for your township. The rest will be placed on Litle Road, which will improve this road to the point it will be ready for a chip seal, and Cornell Road. Lee currently has 281 tons of asphalt being placed on Cornell Road but not in the area you have identified. If your concern is near Albion Road we could move this amount to that location?

The contracted work we have for 2019 is on schedule to be done before the end of August. Our goal is to have all chip seal roads done by August 15 weather permitting.

With the historic amount of rain we have received this year has caused issues with the gravel roads. If we scrape them at the wrong time, it creates mud and people get stuck. JCDOT is using stone to address as many areas as possible. We are using all available resource to maintain the gravel roads in the county. I will put in a work order listing these roads to insure that they get addressed as soon as possible.

School Construction:

With the recent passage of the Sinking Fund renewal and the 2017 Bond, there is much construction going on at our school. All the information has been published and distributed many times before in various media, and you can find more out about that here: 2017 Bond Flyer and here: 2019 Sinking Fund Renewal

2019 – 2020 Budget Approval Meeting

June 10, 2019 is a very important day. At our Board of Trustees meeting at 6:00 PM that night, we will be presenting our budget proposal for the upcoming year. Considering that our cup doesn’t exactly runneth over with cash, how we use the resources we have should be very important to everyone in the community. As we present the budget we will be soliciting input from our residents; if you have something to say – or think you have something to say – it would be a great idea for you to be at that meeting, wouldn’t you think?


Over the 3 years of my tenure as Supervisor, I’ve been working to improve the quality, quantity and frequency of our communication with our residents. I believe it is critical that people know what is happening in their community, what their government is doing, and why and how, and what we are thinking of doing, because all of it has an effect, one way or the other, on life here in Concord. I firmly believe that if I am going to make a decision that affects your life, you should have a seat at the table, don’t you? I certainly don’t want you trying to make decisions for me without my input! Let’s face it, life in a constitutional republic demands citizen participation; it’s not an option.

So when we start discussing things concerning ordinances, regulations, budgets, expenditures and taxes; or permits, services or – really – any other changes whatsoever, I always publish them on my Face Book page first (which has about 400 followers), then on our Township Website (which reaches another 3-400 people) and finally in the Salesman, our local paper. That goes out to just about every household in the Township. Periodically, when a major event comes up (like the Light Up Concord contest) I also enlist the aid of our local schools (another 700 people), our erstwhile erudite journalists (Ken Wyatt and Kibby Snow – who reach several thousand people) and our local businesses to post flyers as they will. Needless to say – we also discuss these things ad nauseam at each of our Trustee and Committee Meetings. One would conclude from such an effort that I’ve probably reached just about everyone in the Township about 6 times over, couldn’t one?

Well, not so fast… Whenever I talk with our residents face to face on pretty much anything I’ve done my level best to publicize, I always get some variation on the confused look or the “I had no idea…” or “How was I supposed to know that” question. It is frustrating enough that I was motivated to do a little research on how we get our news here in our budding little metropolis.

As you all should know; we (the Township and the Village) are in the process of redoing our Master Plan for the next 5 years (you didn’t know that? Well, it’s been on both of our websites since about the time of the Resurrection…) The process required that we survey our population to get their opinions on what they like and don’t like about the current government and what directions they’d like to see us go in the future. We sent out about 2,000 surveys with the property tax bills in February, 2018. We received about 136 back. While that number is – disappointing – what is truly indicative are the responses to one particular set of questions: those on how people get their news and how they get information on community matters. Read on, please:

Additionally, I attend many community meetings (like JDL’s Harmon series) all focused on how to improve life here in Concord. In each of them we try to identify the problems we face as a community and invariably, “communication” is ALWAYS identified as a top issue, if not THE top issue preventing us from becoming a more harmonious and better community. Which, considering the efforts we make at it, comes as a bit of a let down.

Interestingly enough, just about every University, government agency, management training group, think tank and anyone else who has an interest in the subject has published collectively maybe 10 – 20,000 studies on communication; and all of them come to the same conclusion: the least accurate, least effective and least reliable method of communication is word of mouth. But back to the survey: The overwhelming majority of our respondents said that they get their information on community events primarily from word of mouth – good old conversation – AKA gossip. So is it any wonder that few people ever know what is going on with their government?

If you’ve stuck with me this far, you’ve probably reached the conclusion that our residents are seldom informed because they rely on the least accurate and least effective method of finding out what is happening. You are to be commended for that.

Fortunately, we can fix that, and it is quick and easy: just come to the meetings. Or read the FB posts. Or check the website periodically. Or read the paper. You may be surprised at what you find there!

‘till next time.

1 Comment

  1. michael tropiano on June 5, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    keep up the great work

Leave a Comment