06-07-2018 Keeler Township Board gets road millage education; Keeler Lake restoration assessment hea

2018 RECIPIENTS… Hartford Foundation President Scott Smith (back row right) is pictured with Hartford High School graduates amounting to a full third of the class. Again this year every Hartford senior who applied for a local scholarship received an award. The Foundation is proud to have awarded $21,200 adding to the grand total of over $60,000 in local scholarships from Rhino Media, Myers, Art & Bonna Vanderlyn, Four Winds-Pokagon Band, Harding’s, Arrowhead, FairLife, Village Auto Wash, Kalleward, Stagg, Herman, Rathburn and Eagan presented to the Class of 2018. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)


Keeler Township Board gets road millage education; Keeler Lake restoration assessment hearing held

By Annette Christie Keeler Township officials were presented an education about an upcoming road millage that will face all Van Buren County residents at their monthly meeting on June 5. Larry Hummel, Engineer/Manager of the Van Buren County Road Commission said the county will be asking voters to approve a 3-mill county-wide road millage for the next 12 years. It is expected to raise $8.2 million for primary road improvements. The Van Buren County Road Commission maintains 1,330 miles of road. The primary roads consist of approximately 350 miles. There are currently 235 miles of primary roads in “poor” condition. The goal for this millage will be to reach an overall average rating on the primary road system. The plan would be to touch the entire primary system with some form of treatment to prevent further decline and hold as many miles in “good” condition as possible over the life of the millage. Hummel told those in attendance that even though the Michigan legislature passed a new road funding package in 2015, only a portion of that is coming back to the counties. If the millage is passed, every cent of what is raised will go right back into the roads. It will not go for any pieces of equipment, etc. It will all go directly back into the roads. The new road funding package gradually increases the funding provided to the road commissions through the Michigan Transportation Fund. The Michigan Transportation Fund is the road commission’s main source of funding for maintenance. The current 1-mill levy in Van Buren County has been in place since 1978. Also, most of the townships have their own road millage in place. The Road Commission uses the funding from this levy to leverage Federal and State funds to do larger, more expensive road and bridge projects. Without the current 1-mill levy, the county would not have these necessary local funds. The Road Commission will hold two more informational sessions on the subject at the Van Buren Conference Center, 490 S. Paw Paw St., Lawrence. They are being held on: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and Tuesday, July 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. In other business, a public hearing was held for the Keeler Lake Association Special Assessment District for the purpose of continuing efforts to clean up the lake. Jennifer Jones with Restorative Lake Science gave a brief presentation on where they will go next with regard to weed control. She said she is working with the Van Buren County Drain Commissioner to assist with eliminating farmland run off into the lake. The purpose of this public hearing was to learn about the plan. A second public hearing will be held on August 14 and it will review the individual assessments for the project.


SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS… Hartford Foundation’s Life Member Miss Bonna Vanderlyn met the 2018 recipients of the Arthur & Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship at Thursday’s Senior Award Night. Late Life Learner Deb Galvan (left) divides her time as wife, mom and secretary to Superintendent Andy Hubbard while also working on a degree in Business Administration at Kalamazoo Community College. Olivia Ziemer (right), 2018 graduate, is headed to Ann Arbor for the University of Michigan’s pre-med program. She plans to become a pediatrician and eventually return to the area to practice. The recipients will each receive $3,000 per year, renewable for four years thanks to the philanthropy of the Arthur & Bonna Vanderlyn Trust. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

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