Editor, As the Chair of the Chikaming Township Park Board, I would like to address how the structure will be impacted if the referendum passes and the Park Board is dissolved. The current structure is at minimum cost to Chikaming Township taxpayers, as we are paid a nominal fee for attending monthly meetings. As elected officials, we are accountable to the taxpayers; as Chair, I am in regular contact with the Township Supervisor as we manage projects and routine maintenance.

Given the unpaid status of the Board, we have been able to efficiently use taxpayer dollars to maintain and make improvements to Township properties. In times of rising inflation and economic uncertainty, choosing to transition to a paid Parks Administrator (who could be a contracted nonresident) over unpaid community volunteers diverts tax dollars from parks development to government salaries.

Our community is faced with a choice: continue with our current elected Park Board that has efficiently used taxpayer dollars to develop and maintain our beautiful parks, preserves and beaches, or choose to fund a paid administrator. Please educate yourselves about the pros and cons of each option, and cast your vote on November 8.

Highlights of the past year: 40 new trees were planted at Harbert Community Park, along with a community fern garden, new pathway and performance platform, a gazebo donation, and a Children’s Discovery sand area with plenty of room to play. A new platform for the shelter at the Dog Park was installed, the fishing platform at CT Park & Preserve was rebuilt, and a gate was installed at Harbert Road Preserve. Finally, several invasive tree-of-heaven trees were removed at Miller Beach, and a new set of stairs was installed at Pier Street Beach.

Jill Underhill

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