OTISCO TOWNSHIP — Tuesday evening’s Otisco Township Board meeting was as informational and straightforward as most meetings can go — until a little color and design lit up the faces of each and every local resident in attendance.
During a small break between agenda items, Township Supervisor Paul Reeves asked that everyone who attended the meeting take a moment to observe six designs for an official Otisco Township flag that were created by resident Laura Staats.
Reeves said it was at a convention in Traverse city that board members noticed several Michigan townships had official flags.
“One of us said, it would be nice to have our own flag,” he said. “Laura said she would volunteer. We have six designs here and it’s very difficult to pick. If we could take a little break and lay these out, I’d like everyone to tell us their favorite design.”
Residents in attendance then gathered together to observe the different flag designs, pointing out their favorites and adding suggestions about what should be included to properly represent the township.
Residents, such as David Hodges, were excited to see designs that featured the local culture and history of the township, including various farming, growing wheat, saw mills and grain elevators.
“They had a flag procession there at that convention, and we just thought, isn’t that cool,” Staats said. “We’ve always been a farming community, so I tried to incorporate that.”
Reeves said the board will likely vote on the official flag design at the next meeting in April.
“This is Otisco township, if we’re going to do it, we need something that represents the township,” he said. “If you look at Eureka Township to the north, they have a very nice flag design. It would be nice for us to have something like that as well.”
In other matters, members of the Otisco Township board unanimously approved the township’s 2014-2015 budget tonight after a public hearing was held on the subject in a 5-0 vote.
The general fund budget will incur an estimated $636,700 in expenses with an estimated $636,786 in revenue, resulting in a budget that is almost perfectly balanced with a surplus of only $86.
Adding in revenues and expenses from the road and fire protection services funds, the total in expenditures raises to $1,310,250 while revenues raises to $1,310,336.
To start the year, the township had a healthy total of $166,969.34 in the general fund.
“It’s a healthy budget,” Reeves said. “It’s balanced, with a good amount of money in the general fund.”
The board also voted on several smaller issues, including renewing vouchers for all township residents to use the local landfill, renewing the township’s recycling contract and canceling the township’s newspaper subscription with the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.