Leaders look back on 2021, forward to ‘22

By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
With 2021 over and 2022 starting, local leaders reflected on last year’s accomplishments and what to expect in the months to come.
While leaders for Oxford Village and Township shared several highlights, each found it hard to look back on the year without taking it into account.

Jack Curtis

“The past two weeks has had a terrible toll on looking back at anything you’ve done good,” Jack Curtis, Oxford Township supervisor, said in mid-December. “How do you pat yourself on the back when one of the most tragic things in your life has happened?”
Baring Nov. 30, village officials had several achievements to be proud of. For Village Manager Joe Madore, the accomplishment above all else was finishing the M-24 repaving project.
“When I came here in 2017, [repairing M-24] was already hanging over the community like a cloud,” Madore said. “There was so much worry about how it’s gonna impact the neighborhoods … It was like the sky was falling three years in advance. The fact that it was pulled off the way it was pulled off, with a lot less impact than I think people were worried about, it was a great thing. Wrapping it up and seeing the final amenities in the spring and the people out enjoying it, that was a big accomplishment.”

Joe Madore

Shifting from the operations side to the legislative, Village President Kelsey Cooke is happy with how the Village Council worked in 2021.
“This council works so well together,” Cooke said. “Even though we don’t always have the same opinion, there’s obviously been many votes where it’s been split … but I think we’ve made a lot of progress for the community. I think we represent the community well. I think we all have different perspectives that we share, and with that we got a lot of work done and we have a good direction to go forward.”
One of the largest legislative items in 2021 was legalizing recreational marijuana in the village, passing in September with the Planning Commission approving the first business in October.
Cooke is also proud with how the downtown businesses operated over the past year, especially following the completion of the M-24 project.
Curtis did not have a single biggest accomplishment for the year — hiring a new building inspector, reworking office supply procurement policies, hiring another Oakland County Sheriff’s Office deputy for the substation and maintaining relationships with other Oakland County townships and the county itself were all brought up — but highlighted the day-to-day operations of the township’s office staff.

Kelsey Cooke

“The township office employees are very strong, are very dedicated [and] are very willing to step up and work,” Curtis said. “We just have to make sure that it is led and executed all in the same direction, and that is to be of service to our community. The money that we collect for operating expenses is by far one of the smaller millages that our township pays … and our biggest accomplishment is everybody understanding that and getting in line and lockstep marching forward to serve this community.”
One thing the municipalities have in common is the awarding of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which both the village and township have put to use on infrastructure projects. The village is using funds to replace a water line while the township has committed ARPA funds to expand sewer service.

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