Two new commissioners assume seats on Crawford County Road Commission Board
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Crawford County Road Commission is up to full strength as two new members were appointed to the board recently.
Cris Jones, of South Branch Township, and Scott Hanson, a resident of Grayling Charter Township, were appointed to the road commission at the Crawford County Board of Commissioner’s regular monthly meeting held in April.
In February, the Crawford Board of Commissioners voted to increase members on the road commission from three to five members.
The option was brought forward in an effort to bring better representation from outlying areas in the county as economic growth occurs and the population of residents increases. There was also a concern about board members’ attendance at meetings to handle the official business for the road commission. A quorum on the road commission can be met with two members in order to hold a meeting.
Last year, representatives from outlying townships attended a road commission meeting to voice concern that projects weren’t taking place in their jurisdictions.
A formula has since been developed by road commission officials to assist townships with local road projects.
Jones and Hanson join Crawford County Road Commission Chairman Jim Burtch, Vice Chairman Ryan Halstead, and Commissioner Gary Summers.
Jones was appointed to serve through 2020, while Hanson will serve through 2022. The terms were staggered to coincide when they come up for election on the ballot.
Jones is the chairman for the Crawford County Planning Commission. He is also on a committee for South Branch Township to address roads.
“I would like to see the townships take a bigger role in roads,” Jones said in his interview with the county board.
Hanson served on the Crawford County Board of Commissioners, which included some time as chairman of the board.
Hanson said he would like to explore alternative funding options for the maintenance and construction of local roads.
“It’s been the same argument that goes back 100 years,” he said. “The road commission has always had low funds for maintenance of roads.”
Hanson said he appreciated the nod of approval to serve on the road commission.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be able be help improve the road network in Crawford County,” he said.
Roger Popp, Mark Swiercz, and Russell H. Strohpaul Jr. were also interviewed to be appointed to the open road commission seats. Popp, however, requested to have his name withdrawn from the process.
Don Babcock, the managing director for the road commission, said it was an apt time to bring in more eyes and ears to the road commission board. Road commission employees are conducting normal operations as they transition from maintenance after the winter season and prepare for road construction projects.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Babcock said. “We can work with anybody. We’ll get them in here and get them acclimated.”