State Rep. Jeff Yaroch stopped in at a recent Richmond City Council meeting to update his former colleagues on what he’s been up to in Lansing.
Yaroch, who served 17 years on the city council before being elected to represent the 33rd district in November 2016, hosted office hours at city hall prior to the council meeting.
“It’s always nice to get back to Richmond. I just want to say ‘thank you’ for allowing me to come in an hour before the meeting to have some office hours here,” Yaroch said. “I’m making it a point of getting around to all the communities in my district and giving them an opportunity if people have concerns to share.”
District 33 includes the townships of Armada, Lenox, Ray and Richmond, the cities of Richmond and Memphis and the villages of New Haven and Armada. Yaroch said he serves on the appropriations subcommittee for roads, transportation, corrections, law and the Department of Health and Human Services.
At the recent meeting, Yaroch said he hasn’t forgotten local government and continues to remind officials in Lansing they are supposed to be partners with local communities.
“State officials — we are not any smarter, we just happen to be in Lansing, so we’re trying to work together,” Yaroch said.
One thing he’s working on is the unfunded mandates that come down by reminding his fellow legislators the bills are a problem because they violate the Headlee Amendment.
Yaroch said he’s fighting to bring more revenue sharing to local communities and to keep the promise of 1998 regarding revenue sharing commitments.
“I’m trying to remind people that this is not charity,” Yaroch said. “Revenue sharing is constitutional and statutory…Local government is our main provider of services to our citizens — police, fire, street lights and roads and so forth.”
“I’m committed to getting more money to roads,” he said.
He said he hopes to see money being used to fund 400 unfilled positions in the Michigan Department of Transportation be shifted to roads.
“The House budget is going to cut that (funding) in half and put that money into roads,” he said. “MDOT actually also had four airplanes, and the House position is that they need to sell two of them. We don’t think they need that and that it’s better spent on pavement.”
Yaroch concluded his time before the city council by reminding his constituents they can feel free to contact him at his office any time.
“We love to talk to people about issues,” Yaroch said.
A press release dated April 11 backed up Yaroch’s plan to support more money for roads and bridges. House Bill 4242 is now being considered by the full House Appropriations Committee.
“I heard the residents of my district loud and clear when they said, ‘fix the roads,’” said Yaroch. “I intend to follow through on that by supporting this transportation budget. It shifts money from bureaucracy to fixing and maintaining our roads and bridges.”
Yaroch can be reached at 517-373-0820.
Barb Pert Templeton is a freelance reporter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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