Good things are happening in Leelanau County.  In so many ways, those of us living in Leelanau County are very fortunate.  We have beautiful views and many wonderful natural resources, rich agricultural land, excellent schools, ‘Best in the State Health Status’ ratings for residents, relatively high incomes, fine homes, vibrant communities and strong families.

But we can and must do even better!  High home costs preclude home ownership for many.  Employers are challenged by the shortage of available employees. Schools are facing significant enrollment declines and many of our young families are struggling to make ends meet.  Fifteen percent of our children and 10% of our residents are currently living ‘below the level of poverty.’

The Michigan Constitution mandates certain county government responsibilities and allows counties to provide supplemental services and programs to benefit residents.   We must maintain low taxes, support small businesses and agriculture, provide services for seniors & young families, protect what makes us special, expand citizen participation, and respond with more sensitivity to resident needs.  Additionally, we must work with community partners to address concerns about attracting and keeping young families and promote economic development and employment opportunities.  As we look to the future, we need to work with community partners to address issues of affordable housing, support for residents, and the preservation of our wonderful Leelanau County resources.

Although government cannot be unilaterally responsible for solving problems of poverty, affordable housing, economic development, and family support, we must partner with private enterprise, villages, townships and community groups to address the following issues:

  • Fiscal responsibility & low taxes
  • Infrastructure needs
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Services to residents
  • Senior services & support for senior citizens
  • Role of county government to support & partner with townships & villages
  • Affordable housing
  • Rising poverty rates and economic struggles for our most vulnerable population (read more in the ‘Invisible Leelanau’ blog post)
  • Opportunities to partner with community

Please contact me with questions and/or suggestions.

Ty Wessell