TEMPERANCE — Bedford Township officials held a “community chat” in the township hall, and only two of the community’s elected officials were in attendance.
The absences were calculated. Board members were concerned that being there as a quorum might be perceived as an illegal meeting under Michigan law, so only trustees Paul Pirrone and Nancy Tienvieri showed up to take questions and act as hosts.
The get-together attracted about 25 people, including Monroe County Sheriff Dale Malone and some of his command officers, state Rep. Dale Zorn (R., Ida), and County Commissioner Jason Sheppard.
Questions and complaints ranged from topics such as Bedford Memorial Gardens, the township's newest cemetery, to road conditions and cable service.
Temperance resident Don Earley said the plots at the cemetery were undersized and laid out in the wrong direction. Headstones had to be removed when new graves were dug, he explained.
Others complained about poor maintenance at the cemetery and alleged that township officials had mismanaged the whole cemetery project, which they said should be privatized. Steve Lennex, a township Realtor, noted that the time to fix the deficiencies was now, when the cemetery was mostly empty.
The township established the new cemetery because existing township cemeteries had run out of plots. Revenues have fallen short of what is needed to keep the operation in the black. Frank Knoll of Lambertville said the township’s $600 price for plots was too low.
On the subject of roads, Tom McQuaid of Valetta Drive in Temperance wanted to know why he and his neighbors couldn’t undertake repairs on their pot-holed street on their own, without the extra work and costs the Monroe County Road Commission required.
Ms. Tienvieri, who once worked at the road commission, said neither the homeowners nor the township could hire their own contractor for the work. Only the road commission could do so, and it did not receive funding for local roads such as Valetta. To make the fixes, a special assessment district would have to be set up and the project handled through the road commission, which meant following the agency’s standards.
Mr. Knoll praised the road commission and township board for improvements recently completed and noted that he had not seen so much road work under way since he moved to Bedford from Columbus in 1971.
Gene Stock of Temperance asked why the township did not enforce an ordinance requiring its cable provider, Buckeye CableSystem, to have an office in Bedford. Mr. Pirrone read an answer from township Supervisor Greg Stewart: Michigan law prohibited local municipalities from imposing such a requirement; also, Flick’s Package Liquor Inc. in Lambertville performed some services for Buckeye. The cable company is owned by Block Communications Inc., the parent company of The Blade.
Sheriff Malone reported that his officers had recently arrested nine suspects in connection with break-ins in the township. He said this year through August, deputies had responded to 4,577 complaints in Bedford, 390 vehicle accidents, and issued 635 citations.