Is Orion Twp. an excellent place to live? The survey results are in

Twp. provides garbage hauler, water usage rates updates

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

Everyone already knows that Orion Township is the place Where Living is a Vacation.

But, is it really a good place to live?

Orion Township’s 2019 community survey results are in and, overall, most residents rate the township as a good to excellent place to live.

Supervisor Chris Barnett presented an overview of the results during the township board’s meeting on Monday. This is the third community survey, which the township conducts in odd numbered years, Barnett said.

Schools, parks, lakes and open spaces were top reasons why residents said they moved to the Orion area.

• 90 percent of residents rated Orion Township as a good or excellent place to live.

• 86 percent rated the township good or excellent “as a place for play and leisure.”

• 66 percent rated the township as a good or excellent place to visit.

• 87 percent of residents rated the overall quality of life in Orion Township as good or excellent.

What do residents want to see more of in Orion?

• 52 percent want more grocery shopping options.

• 36 percent want more dining options.

• 24 percent want more entertainment options.

Residents also wanted more retail shopping and recreational opportunities.

Trader Joe’s, a farmers’ market, a fruit market, Chick-Fil-A, an upscale grocery store and a bakery were among the businesses residents wanted to see come to the township.

“We take this data…we actually use this data to reach out to businesses,” Barnett said. “All of those stores…and about a dozen more to tell them about our residents, our demographics, our income levels and then the fact that our residents have said now for six years in a row that they’re looking for more shopping options when it comes to groceries.

“That is something that we’re actively pursuing and we’re trying to find spots for those things. But it’s just really important, I think,” Barnett said.

Other survey questions were related to schools, fire and police services, parks and quality of life.

Barnett said the township would release the full results of the survey at a later date, adding that the township wanted to give an overview of the results now.

“We will report all of that out (to residents), but we’re tabulating those (results) and we’re trying to put it in a very easy to read, presentable way,” Barnett said. “A lot of the input we took from our last survey we used to update our parks and rec. master plan when we asked people what types of amenities they want to see in our parks.”

“So, we do really use this data to vet out priorities for our community,” Barnett said.

Single-hauler update

The township is moving to a single garbage hauler beginning in January and has selected Green For Life as its solid waste and recycle service.

Barnett said residents will receive a nine-page newsletter this week updating them on the transition schedule to a single hauler, recycling, a map of garbage pickup days by area, what can and cannot be recycled and will answer many frequently asked questions.

The newsletter will be mailed to township residents and is available online at oriontownship.org.

“This tells you literally everything you need to know, want to know, stuff you probably don’t even want or need to know,” Barnett said, adding, “Do not cancel your current service. Your hauler will automatically remove you at the end of the year.”

Residents do need to select their garbage and recycling cart sizes by Nov. 15.

“That day is fast approaching. Everyone is going to get a large 95-gallon cart for garbage and one 64-gallon cart with wheels for recycling. If you’re happy with the standard allocation, you don’t need to do anything. Those will show up sometime in mid-December,” Barnett said, adding that residents can contact Green For Life and request larger carts for recycling, smaller carts for garbage or additional carts. “It’s all explained very clearly in this nine-page newsletter.”

“We know this is a lot of information and it’s a big change. The good news is, at the turn of the year we will have an employee here (at Township Hall) from GFL for four months that will be taking all of the calls (from residents), that will be part of our team for a while. We have been assigned a district manager that we will be able to work directly with if we have complaints or issues.”

The township’s switch to a single-hauler does not affect Village of Lake Orion residents, and it does not apply to businesses or multi-unit dwellings, such as apartment complexes. It does affect all township residential garbage customers.

Water Usage Rates

The township board voted unanimously to lower the minimum monthly water usage/rate from four units at $14.16 to two units at $7.08. The township previously switched from quarterly to monthly billing for water usage.

“Since we began monthly billing last summer, we have seen usage below the minimum four units. This impacts a significant amount of our customers, especially in the months from October through April when irrigation systems are turned off,” wrote Public Services Director Jeff Stout and Water & Sewer Superintendent Bill Basigkow in a recommendation to Barnett.

The new minimum usage rate will give a break to those residents who do not use four units and have to pay for water they do not use.

“Now we see how that’s impacting some of our fixed income residents and lowering that from four to two (units) would help them out,” Basigkow said. “It is the same price, it’s just that the minimum bill that we bill out changed.”