Surveys are still being accepted until Feb. 28 | By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | January 15, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc
Solar energy projects: yes. Wind energy projects: no.
That’s what the majority of Ferris Township residents are saying – at least the majority of the meager 17% who responded to a survey for the un-zoned township.
The Ferris Township Board sent out 689 surveys in early December along with winter property taxes. The township received 116 responses (17%), meaning 83% of those who received a survey (573 people) didn’t respond.
In answer to the question, “Are you favor of or opposed to solar energy in Ferris Township?” 60% of respondents (54 people) were in favor of solar, while 36% of respondents (35 people) were against (with 4%, or four people, defined as “other”).
In answer to the question, “Are you favor of or opposed to wind energy in Ferris Township?” 61% of respondents (60 people) were against, while 38% of respondents (31 people) were in favor (1%, or one person, said they didn’t know).
Survey results were discussed during Tuesday’s Ferris Township Board meeting. A Daily News reporter and Janice Jourdan (the retired Ferris Township treasurer) were the only members of the public at the meeting.
The deadline to respond to the survey was Jan. 1, but because the response rate was so low, township officials agreed on Monday to accept surveys until Feb. 28, which is also the deadline for winter taxes.
“I think we really need to compile everything we can get,” Clerk Teri Brecht said.
“We want to give everybody a fair shake to get their voice heard,” Supervisor Randy Stearns agreed.
“It’s really sad we only got 17 percent feedback,” Trustee Dan Calverley noted.
“What we’re doing this for is information gathering,” Calverley added. “We’re not making any policy because of this. We’re just trying to get the temperature of the township.
“If we start getting into this windmill stuff, there’ll be a lot of scrutinizing no matter what we say,” he added with a chuckle.
“I talked to (Douglass Township Supervisor) Terry Anderson the other day and he said ‘I never,’ he said, ‘you sit and wonder why are we doing this?’” Stearns noted (referring to last week’s Douglass Township Board meeting at which Anderson and his township board declined to renew the terms of two Planning Commission members who had been working on a wind ordinance and instead appointed two new members, along with a third new member to replace a third recently resigned planning commissioner; more than 100 people were present at that meeting).
“Apex did file a generation interconnection agreement, and that means they’re pretty serious about building this,” Calverley observed. (See accompanying story.)
“We’re representatives and we’re trying to find out what the township wants,” Treasurer Jody Waldron said of the township’s reasoning for mailing out the wind and solar surveys.
“Maybe if some of these other townships had done that, it would have eliminated a lot of hassle,” Calverley noted.
The Ferris Township Board meets quarterly and is next scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. on March 29, when they will continue to talk about wind and solar survey results.
In other matters …
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the Ferris Township Board:
• Discussed how to spend the township’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, with ideas including road work, cemetery improvements, township hall improvements and technology upgrades.
• Voted 5-0 to approve hiring Spicer Group to do Phase 3 of a township cemetery mapping project at a cost of $5,000 for field work and $4,500 for geographic informations system (GIS) work for a total of $9,500.
• Voted 5-0 to approve a resolution for salary adjustments for township employees in the new budget year as follows: assessor at $15,500 (up from $13,500), supervisor at $10,500 (up from $9,000), clerk at $14,000 (up from $10,500), treasurer at $12,750 (up from $9,499), trustees at $3,000 each (up from $1,875), road liaison at $3,750 (up from $2,625), two deputies at $15 per hour each (up from $11 and $12 per hour each) and $20 per hour for election workers (up from $11). The new salaries will take effect on April 1 (after the next township board meeting, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. on March 29).
URL to article: https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2022/01/16/ferris-township-wind-solar-survey-sees-low-response-rate/