‘I feel a civic responsibility’
LAPEER — Throughout Lapeer County, nearly every week of the year, school and township boards, village and city councils, and the county commissioners gather in their respective meeting places to discuss important matters, budget tax dollars and make decisions that will impact the residents in their areas.
It’s not all that common to find people who attend those meetings without a personal agenda, just to stay up to date with what’s going on, however there are a few here and there. Allen Rosenbalm is one such person.
Rosenbalm, 37, is a resident of Imlay City and for the past two years, he’s been a regular attendee of county commission meetings as well as Imlay City, Imlay Township and occasionally Goodland Township.
“I have an interest in politics, everything from federal to local,” said Rosenbalm. “I feel a civic responsibility to make a difference.”
Not only does Rosenbalm attend meetings, he also does research on his own, and speaks during public time during the meetings, bringing attention to topics he believes should be looked into.
“I’m interested in the broad spectrum,” he said. “Just whatever we can resolve.”
Among the topics at the forefront of Rosenbalm’s mind these days are emergency management preparedness, mental health, and just the big picture.
“I think that’s what’s lacking in general,” he said.
Most people come to meetings because of a certain issue, he said, but he doesn’t limit his focus.
“I think maybe that’s where I’m a little different than others,” he said.
He added, he’s also on permanent disability, so he has time to devote to attending meetings and research.
He’s also considering a future run for office.
“I haven’t quite made a decision yet, but I’m strongly leaning toward running for a seat on the Imlay City Commission in the 2018 cycle,” he said.
In Imlay City, he said, he’d like to see more of the buildings occupied and more incentives to bring in businesses.
“We’ve made considerable progress, but I feel like we have a ways to go,” he said.
He’d also like to see a greater emphasis on the needs and concerns of the fire department, including the construction of a new building, and more activities for the “left out” teenage demographic.
As far as attending meetings goes, Rosenbalm said he enjoys watching the decisions being made, and he likes to see the boards taking public input into consideration, including his own.
At last week’s Lapeer County Commission meeting, Rosenbalm took a moment to thank the board members for their transparency, and willingness to share information.
“I consider it a passion,” said Rosenbalm of his meeting attendance, “and I consider it a responsibility because I’m someone who has the time and luxury to do it as well.”