GENESEE COUNTY — With nearly 10 percent of the property in his community belonging to Genesee County Parks and Recreation, Richfield Township Supervisor Joe Madore thinks the township should have a say in decisions made regarding that parkland.
Madore and five other Genesee County township supervisors came before the Genesee County Board of Commissioners last week and asked the commission to consider filling two at-large seats on the parks and recreation board with representatives — elected officials — from communities in the county.
“Seventy-five percent of the county parks system are in Richfield and Genesee townships,” said Madore. “It just makes sense. We are thinking we should have a couple of those seats.”
There are currently four seats on the board which are filled with citizen appointees. Madore said if the townships were allowed to have reps fill two of those seats it would at least give them a voice.
He points to other county boards — such as the 911 consortium, the road commission and the Flint Area Narcotics Group — where the municipalities have representation as examples of how he thinks the parks board should be.
Flint Township Supervisor Karyn Miller, who joined Madore at the commission meeting, said she is not personally interested in having a seat on the county Parks Board, but supports having voting members on the panel who represent local townships or small cities.
“I just think it’s a good idea and a good decision, especially when you see how many townships and cities have county parks within their borders,” Miller said. “Not only do these municipalities contribute funds to the county parks through residents/businesses paying taxes into the county park millage but also the land that county parks are located on are exempt from paying taxes, which means townships and small cities have given something up to gain these parks within their borders. It seems logical that they might have a seat and a vote on the board.”
That still would leave two citizen representative seats available for any county resident to fill, she added.
Another who attended the county commission meeting was Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Micki Hoffman.
Hoffman said she was of the position even though Grand Blanc has its own parks and recreation board, and therefore doesn’t have any personal liability in the matter, she wanted to make sure as the township has a say in how the county parks are managed.
Because the township contribute money to the parks through taxes, she said she thinks it’s only fair she make it known she thinks those who have parks/property at stake were able to have citizen representation.
“I want other people to have their say,” said Hoffman.
Thetford Township Supervisor Eileen Kerr and Fenton Township Supervisor Bonnie Mathis both also attended the commission meeting with Madore, Hoffman and Miller to show their support.
Madore said he would like to have a representative of the parks commission come to the next Michigan Township’s Association meeting. He said he will also be at the December county commission meetings, when a decision is expected on filling the at-large seats — possibly as soon as the Dec. 6 meeting.
County Commission Chairman Jamie Curtis (D-Burton) could not be reached for comment at press time.