By Scott Brown
ML&SA Executive Director

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations remains committed to the idea that townships and other local units of government should be playing a larger role in preserving and protecting the inland lakes, streams and wetlands as well as other valuable natural resources within their jurisdictions that are so important to Michigan’s future.

In the landmark Michigan Supreme Court case Hess v West Bloomfield Township, 439 Mich 550 (1992), the high court reaffirmed the legal authority of local governments, including townships, to pass ordinances and regulations pertaining to the protection of inland water resources.

One of the primary reasons that local government officials in Michigan have not taken a more pro-active role in passing ordinances designed to protect our inland lakes and streams is that many of them simply do not fully understand their potential role in protecting Michigan’s natural resources.

Did you know that only about 40% of Michigan’s local elected officials have completed any form of relevant training for the elected positions they are holding, such as the Michigan Citizen Planner course?

In an era when so many outstanding educational opportunities are available on-line, there is no legitimate excuse for those seeking or holding local office not to have completed one of the many local government official training programs offered by Michigan State University Extension, the Michigan Townships Association, or the American Planning Association – Michigan Chapter.

So, the next time you run into your township Supervisor, or any of your elected local government officials for that matter, or a candidate for local office, you might want to ask them if they have completed one of these programs created for local government officials, and base your vote on their answer. Michigan cannot afford to be governed by those not fully aware of the duties and responsibilities of the official offices they hold.

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