Montcalm County redistricting leads to new liaison for Sheridan

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 10:34 am on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SHERIDAN — Montcalm County Commissioner John Johansen of Montcalm Township said his goodbyes to members of the Sheridan Village Council on Tuesday evening.

Since 2001, Johansen has been the county’s primary link to the village of Sheridan and has attended almost every council meeting held there in the past 11 years. Because of the county’s recent reapportionment, he will now be covering other villages.

Stepping in for Johansen will be Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City. Kellenberger has been serving as a commissioner since January 2011 and also serves on the Commission on Aging Executive Board, Community Corrections Advisory Board, Economic Development and Physical Resources as an alternate, Law Enforcement and Courts, Montcalm Center for Behavioral Health Board, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Prison Liaison Committee.

Village President Susan Wyckoff-McFarland expressed the council’s gratitude for all Johansen’s contributions over the years.

“You’ve been to nearly every meeting and you will truly be missed,” Wyckoff-McFarland said.

Johansen returned the compliment, saying it had been his pleasure to work with the council during his time in Sheridan.

“I have enjoyed this and I have great respect for this council and they you do things here,” Johansen said. “It’s been a pleasure and you’ve always been very respectful toward me. When I had something to add you always allowed me to do this.”

Johansen took the provided opportunity to address the council, on the record, regarding a topic about which he feels strongly, county law enforcement. Johansen said he was surprised by the recent vote regarding a failed proposed millage increase that would have kept the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department fully operational.

“I can’t leave without commenting on this,” Johansen said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that this county does not want transportation and it does not want law enforcement. It is very evident to me that if we have a shortfall next year … that this commissioner will vote to reduce law enforcement further.

“The voters sent us a message saying we are not interested in contributing additional funding to continue the level of law enforcement we’ve had over the years,” he said.

Johansen went on to say that the only role the sheriff’s department is required by law to play in law enforcement is the maintenance of the jail.

“They don’t have to do anything else,” Johansen said. “Hopefully, we won’t get to that level.”

In saying goodbye and introducing Kellenberger, Johansen added, “You have a very fine council here. I leave here with complete comfort that you’ll get even more service from (Kellenberger) than I ever gave you.”

In other council business, Village Superintendent Doug Lane reported that village leaf pickup would be coming to an end by the end of the week. Village residents who want their leaves collected should have them to the curb no later than Thursday morning.

“The ending date on the (village) newsletter was Nov. 15,” Lane said. “We’ll probably be making our last trip on Friday the 16th. Hopefully that will be the end of it.”

The council meets next at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

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