Wednesday, May 20, 2009

5/12/09 Sustainability Task Force Minuets

5/12/09 Sustainability Task Force Minuets

Called to order at 7:09 am by chair Mikus.  Present were Mikus, Burdett, Lyon, Wagner, Wade-Ellis, Woodruff and guest Mary Senter of CMU’s CARRS (The Center for Applied Research and Rural Studies)

Mary Senter addressed the committee on what a professional survey is and what it can (and cannot) do.

Mailings are less expensive, but have a lower response rate, cannot be easily tailored to responder’s circumstances.  Phone surveys are more costly at about $30 per completed response.  Union Township already has commitments from Consumers Energy and Vision 20/20 for cost sharing, and CMU has offered a reduced cost as an in-kind Grant.

Phone Surveys utilize CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interview) software.  This allows a question tree to be developed where initial questions help guide the interview and tailor set of specific questions.  This ensures a maximum of pertinent questions.  A typical interview is no longer than 15 minutes and can go through about 75 questions.    One problem with the phone survey today is the growing use of cell phones as peoples only phone.  Geographic data is not available as public information for cells.

The townships population needs about 400 random calls to obtain a plus/minus a reliability of 5%.   A good survey cannot make the tough decisions, but is vital to good decision making.   The public has demonstrated a desire to be engaged with local government, to comment and voice opinion,  and be connected as evidenced by recent developments such as Sound Off and newspaper comment blogs as well as other independent bloggers.  

CARRS will interview stakeholders and generate questions that solicit unbiased opinions.  Wording of a question can affect the response.  It was the task force’s consensus that all stakeholders be engaged as soon as possible.  Topics identified included policing, recycling, economic development and satisfaction.  Groups that were identified in addition to the sustainability task force were the township board, planning commission, DDAs, Parks and Recreation, and township staff.  It was also suggested that a survey population of the greater Mt Pleasant area beyond the township boarders would be beneficial and the CATI software can track where responders reside, compare opinions of residents and neighboring residents.  An example would be to survey opinions on intergovernmental cooperation, not only do we want to know if our residents want this, but is it welcomed from those around us?

Woody Woodruff, Secretary


Environmental Committee Notes

Greetings Green Team members,

With this note I will update everyone on recent discussions the Environment subcommittee of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Sustainability has had with Amy Shindorf, the Isabella County Resource Recovery Manager.

At the May 12, 2009 meeting, Amy reported that the County could provide roadside/curbside recycling collection services to single family residences in the in Union Township. The County provides roadside/curbside services to the Village of Shepherd, Lincoln Township, Deerfield Township, and the Village of Lake Isabella.

The rate for Union Township would be  $17 a year per household, for every other week collection. The County will have to purchase another truck and hire a second crew due to the fact the existing truck is maxed out providing the services outlined above.

We also discussed possible services that could be provided to multi-family complexes, such as apartment buildings of four or more units. One idea discussed was the use of EZ Recycler, a large metal box with chutes and barrels. The curbside crew could pull out the barrels and empty the contents in the recycling truck. A price for that service has not been discussed. An option for large apartment complexes is a roll off put in the parking lot. A price for that service has not been discussed.

I would like the committee to discuss these collection options and examine possible funding options at the next meeting, on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 @ 7am in the Union Township Hall.  We will have additional information to distribute at that time.

When you have a minute, click on this link: to read fact sheets "designed to give a brief but complete picture of the environmental impacts of a particular system, as well as sustainable solutions and alternatives."

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about committee work.


Phil Mikus
Charter Township of Union Trustee