I believe that Township government is an important service to our residents. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished over the last 10 years while I’ve been serving as Benton Township Trustee:
I have demonstrated fiscal responsibility:
- When I was caucused into this position, half of the township’s fund accounts were in the negative. By the end of that fiscal year, all funds were in the positive and our records were balanced for the first time since 2008.
- I work closely with over 20 Federal, State, and Local agencies to ensure this office is adhering to best business practices, accounting standards, and reporting requirements. Many of these reports (such as Budgets and Annual reports) can be found on Indiana Gateway for Governmental Units.
- My books are balanced every month, and each year expenses are less than the approved budget for all Township Funds.
I have improved the lives of our township residents:
- I strive to make the Township Assistance process as accessible as possible by meeting people at a time that is convenient for them (not necessarily Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), travelling to their home if necessary. In cases of emergency, either the Township Trustee or the Caseworker will be available immediately to help. If needed, clients are welcome to use our computers in order to access and print out any documents that they might need for their application.
- I am happy to provide additional support to Township Residents to apply for assistance with other organizations. We have successfully secured additional resources for residents such as SNAP/Food Stamps, South Central Community Action Program (utility assistance), Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and Section 8 Housing.
- I worked with the local 4-H club (Unionville Hot Shots), our local Boy Scout troop, as well as private donors to start a food pantry to provide 3 bags of food to anyone asking for assistance. This pantry supplies a variety of items such as personal and feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies, paper products, dog and cat food, school supplies, and farm fresh eggs depending on need. In addition, the Unionville 4-H has established a Lil’ Library and Lil’ Pantry on Township property to serve residents.
- I created and maintained a centralized list of community resources so that we are able to provide a wide array of referrals, depending on the particular situation. This list is updated constantly so we have the most up-to-date information available.
- I contracted with a local company to complete a historical restoration of two of the four cemeteries that the Township is responsible for. Before and after pictures, along with any available genealogy information for each cemetery is available for review at the Township Office during regular business hours.
- The Benton Township Trustee’s office along with the Benton Township Volunteer Firefighters partnered with the American Red Cross for the Home Fire Campaign to provide and install home fire alarms to anyone who requests them.
- The Benton Township Trustee and Board, along with a group of volunteers, organized the community movement that petitioned the Monroe County Commissioners to allow our Township to join the Monroe Fire Protection District. This allowed us to have two full-time personnel at our station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which has resulted in an average of 5-minute improvement in response time and a better ISO rate (for homeowner’s insurance premiums).
- I have brought community contracts to the Board so that programs such as the Unionville Senior Citizen’s Organization and the Danny Smith Memorial Park can continue to offer high-quality programming.
I have promoted integrity in government:
- Right after I started this position, I set up a dedicated phone line that goes directly to the Township Trustee’s office. In the past, the Unionville Senior Center telephone line was used as the main business line (where there was neither voice mail nor confidentiality) or the Trustee’s home or cell phone (which changes term to term).
- I’ve always had an Open Door policy. I’m happy to meet with anyone at any time, either during regular business hours, or early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
- I review and update our township policies and guidelines to reflect current standards in contracting and personnel policies, including strict internal controls and anti-nepotism policies.
- I maintain a township website with township information, Board meeting schedules, and minutes so that taxpayers can see what’s going on in the Township even if they can’t attend meetings.
- I attend regular continuing education classes put on by the Department of Local Government and the State Board of Accounts, and attend an annual Educational Conference hosted by the Indiana Township Association.
- I have a good working relationship with other Township Trustees in Monroe County and serve as the Vice President of the Monroe County Trustee’s Association.
This website funded by Michelle Bright for Benton Township Trustee.