I am grateful for this opportunity serve as Township supervisor and proud of what we’ve accomplished so far on behalf of the residents of Scio Township.
Starting from the moment we took office in November 2020, we tackled major, long-term issues. We decisively rejected the negotiated settlement agreement on the Gelman dioxane contamination. Instead, we successfully petitioned for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversight of the clean-up. We also initiated a Township led well testing project that has yielded vital new data on the extent of the Gelman dioxane groundwater “plume.”
The prior Board of Trustees adopted a single waste-hauler ordinance and contracted with GFL Environmental as the Township’s residential service provider. The new Board was tasked with implementing this decision. A year later, the transition of Scio’s residential waste-hauling to a single hauler is now complete, although the Township continues to monitor service delivery.
The Board approved appointments of residents to serve on multiple Township committees, a recruitment process that resulted in the most diverse representation in the Township’s history. With the hard work of the volunteers serving on these advisory boards, the Township has:
- Extended the Zeeb Road Pathway further north and secured funding for additional segments.
- Constructed the long-awaited, Parkland Plaza sidewalk to give pedestrians a safe route from their neighborhood to Jackson Road.
- Created improved public access to multiple Township-owned nature preserves.
- Protected an historic farm site.
- Added hundreds of additional acres of natural open space to nature preserves and conserved agricultural land.
- Successfully negotiated for redesign of a proposed development in order to protect a major blue heron nesting area.
- Launched a Sustainability Task Force so the Township can take steps to protect the planet from harmful climate change.
- Obtained a State of Michigan brownfield grant to redevelop an abandoned industrial site as a thriving new business.
- Guided four neighborhood Special Assessment Districts (SADs) through the approval process so they are ready for construction in spring 2022.
- Completed a two-year process to update the Land Use Master Plan.
- Hired a township administrator to oversee Township operations and strengthen our employee teamwork.
This is a partial list of the work done by Scio Township government over the past year. The work ahead will be more demanding. Here are some of the challenges we face:
- Containing and remediating the Gelman dioxane groundwater plume.
- Navigating the opportunity afforded by our nearly $2M in Federal ARPA Covid funds.
- Determining the best way to pay for the West Liberty water main that the prior Board approved.
- Responding to the discovery of dioxane in private wells north of the highway.
- Parks and pathways construction projects funded in part by a new voter-approved millage.
- Completing the multiple special assessment districts established in response to community demand for street improvements.
- Addressing the Township’s future road maintenance needs.
- Deciding whether to extend our Downtown Development Authority or consider new financing alternatives for our water and sewer systems in the Jackson Road corridor and other infrastructure projects we will need in the future.
If the lessons of dioxane pollution, Covid and infrastructure challenges have taught us anything in Scio Township, it’s that to be good leaders, we need to work together as a team and we must strive for alignment with surrounding communities. Everything from shared emergency resources, shared water rights and shared broadband needs to be better managed with strong leadership connections to our neighbors, the County, the State and even the Federal government. By working together, drawing on the different strengths of all team members, we can succeed in addressing the many problems facing the Township and even convert these challenges into opportunities.