Editor’s Note: On the upcoming Nov. 6 ballot, Peninsula Township residents will be voting on a proposal that would shift the management of the township parks to the Township Board. Here is the proposal as noted on the ballot under “Peninsula Township,” “Dissolution of Park Commission Proposal”:
“Shall the Peninsula Township Park Commission be dissolved pursuant to MCL 41.426g thereby transferring all powers and duties and all assets and liabilities of the Peninsula Township Park Commission to the Peninsula Township Board of Trustees?”
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We elect our Peninsula Township Park Commission. But in the name of change, efficiency, structural problems or just the natural difficulties inherent in a democracy, we are being told that we should eliminate our Park Commission. But what will happen if the Park Commission is abolished?
The measure doesn’t say, but I’ve been given two very different answers:
1) An appointed Park Commission will replace the elected Park Commission, which means we will lose our Park Commission vote.
2) The Park Commission will not be replaced and all decisions will be made directly by the Township Board.
If Number 1 (appointed Park Commission) is the answer, the Township Board will still have to approve all decisions, which means the double approval problem is not solved. But this also further concentrates power in the Township Board, who naturally would tend to appoint people with whom they agree.
If Number 2 is the answer (no Park Commission), the structural problem of two levels of decision makers is resolved, but it creates even more problems.
Members of the Peninsula Township Board are good, hard-working folks, but they are already very busy. So day-to-day decisions about our parks will be made by township employees (who are also good, hard-working people). But, they, too, are busy.
I suspect that if we eliminate our Park Commission and as a result, lose our direct vote in how the parks are run, some things just won’t get done. And then, perhaps, we’ll be asked to pay to hire a Parks Director with salary and benefits.
There is a very different solution to the problems caused by this double approval process. Have the Township Board approve a yearly budget for the Park Commission. Then let the Park Commission make final decisions within the budget approved by the Township Board. After all, both boards are elected by us.
I urge you to vote NO on the changes proposed to our Peninsula Township Park Commission in the upcoming election.
Thoughts? Leave a comment in the comments section below.