Dear Editor and Residents of Lima Township:
Hello, everyone. My name is David Hensel and I am currently appointed as a Trustee on the Lima Township Board. I am seeking to be formally elected to the Lima Board of Trustees November 3, 2020.
My appointment came in May of this year after Trustee Don Laier passed away in April. I knew Don from St. Mary Church in Chelsea and the Knights of Columbus. I bring to the board my extensive experience in budgeting and finance, and long-range planning. I am the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for Thornton Farms, Chairman of the Thornton Farms Water Committee that oversees the Water Treatment Plant and the Waste Water Treatment Plant, and earlier this year I was voted in as President in a developing community in Ypsilanti Township.
My view on being on a board is that you need to plan for the future and be responsible for the impact on your decisions 10, 15, 20 years down the road or more. With careful planning, you can avoid spending money you don’t have. I generally oppose raising rates, or taxes, even though at times it is necessary.
I came to the Chelsea area and Lima Township in 2012 and settled in Thornton Farms. Lima Township is a wonderful rural and agricultural community and I fell in love with it. As my family comes from the farm fields and coal mines of Central Pennsylvania, I found a lot of similarities here. Growing up in the summer in Pennsylvania, working at the dairy farm, bailing hay, taking care of the cows, chickens, and of course all the barn cats made me realize the value of hard work, and working with the land. In the evenings and weekends, when my Grandfather came home from the mines, he would run his small store where we all pitched in. And as I got older, my first paying job was farming. I also had a small farm in West Michigan for a time and did some farming. Lima Township appeals to me in many ways.
Today, I am President of D.J. Hensel Consulting Services and am a consultant to Lombardo Homes of Southeast Michigan, with a focus on Land Development. However, even with my current position and my past background in business, I am a Lima Township resident first. As much as any resident in Lima Township I want to protect our farming and agriculture heritage. The Township has a Master Plan and a Land Use Plan that designates where development is allowed to grow which I fully support. Any future growth, in the industrial sector or the residential sector, must go through Planning and Zoning.
Now on to some of the current issues. The main one being the New Township Hall. This project has been in existence for some 10 years now. We have a current hall that is 250 years old. While it has had some updates over the years, it does not meet any of the current codes for ADA either inside or outside the building and parking access is very limited. Frequently at voting time, there have been near misses in vehicle accidents as cars race down Jackson Road. We have been extremely lucky that a person has not been hit, as they park their cars on the side of Jackson Road and walk to and from the township hall.
Property has already been purchased for the new townhall, but there has been no engineering or architectural design completed, leaving us with no realistic estimate for the cost of the building. With careful planning, we can build a townhall for much less than the current estimate of $1.5 million dollars.
Do we need a new township hall? The old offices used to be in the basement of the hall. As many know, it has been treated for black mold, radon, insects, mice, etc. The space used was approximately 1080 sq ft. Current space that is being rented at the Chelsea Building Authority is totally inadequate as it is approximately 809 sq ft. If you have not been to the current township office, stop by and see how small of a space we have everyone working in. And many township people are working from home due to the limited space at the office.
We currently do not have the funds in the bank for a $1.5 million dollar project. However, we do have the funds to conduct the engineering and the architectural aspects of the project. With that completed we would then have a better idea on what this new hall would cost. Personally, I like the idea of a post and beam building that reflects the farming and agricultural aspects and heritage of the township. And it would be a lot more cost effective. This Township Hall is not a short-term project. Even with engineering and architectural design, it needs to go to Planning Commission, and then to a Public Hearing for review.
Next item would be the infrastructure of the township. Roads and Bridges. Over the past years the township and the Road Commission has developed a strong relationship that has helped us in road repair projects. The current project at Trinkle Road will need to be completed as soon as possible as it has been a hazard for some time. Bids are coming in currently. I look forward to working with the Road Commission on evaluating and prioritizing road improvement projects in the township.
The next item would be high-speed internet (Broadband) in the township, which currently does not exist in outlying areas. While this is needed, and still in the planning and exploratory stages, it would most likely need a millage increase to fund as it did in Lyndon Township. More to follow on this.
In closing, I would be honored to continue serving the residents of Lima Township on the Board of Trustees with your approval and vote this November 3.
David Hensel, Lima Township Trustee, Appointed