Community development dept. expected to serve Howell residents

HOWELL — The Howell Township Council recently adopted an ordinance that will create a Department of Community Development.

According to the ordinance, the goal of the new department will be to streamline the process for individuals who are seeking municipal permits and to enhance customer service in Howell’s operation.

Township Manager Helene Schlegel said the goal of the new department will be to focus on three things: serving the members of the public who come to town hall seeking permits; maximizing the productivity of employees; and making certain that all existing ordinances are relevant to the operation to the township.

She said some existing ordinances may need to be revised, and in some cases new ordinances may be recommended for adoption .

Under Schlegel’s direction, an evaluation of Howell’s engineering, planning and construction code departments was undertaken and issues with the permitting process were recognized.

Schlegel ultimately recommended to the council that a Department of Community Development be created. Within that department a new employee will be responsible for overseeing the engineering, planning and construction code departments.

At the present time there is not a specific employee that a resident or business operator can go to if he has a problem in regard to a permit, Schlegel said.

“I think one of the goals of the governing body was to improve the customer service,” the township manager said. “This is an attempt to do that.”

It is expected that the salary of the new employee in the Department of Community Development will be paid through savings from jobs that have not been filled and that the part-time position will not come with benefits.

— Christina Haberstroh