Andrew Linko, Brownstown Township supervisor for 13 years and treasurer for a year prior, has announced he will be retiring this spring.
Linko said his decision to leave was difficult. He recently retired from his full-time job as an electrician at the Ford Motor Co. stamping plant in Woodhaven. Having faced medical issues, he said he and his wife, Linda, decided it was time for them to spend time with their family.
“I can’t believe it’s been 14 years,” he said in an email Wednesday. “I really enjoy serving our township. I cannot thank the residents, department heads, and all past and present members and employees of City Council enough for allowing me to serve as their supervisor. And above all, their commitment to serving residents and businesses, and to seeking to improve this service at a lower cost.
He said that before 2008, the township often made headlines for the wrong reasons – chasing businesses and investments, several ongoing lawsuits and a board that was constantly arguing and fighting. He was asked by then-Supervisor Arthur Wright to run for Treasurer after serving on the Zoning Appeals Board, being active in the United Auto Workers as a CAP member, and being a former member of the city council in Warren, Ohio.
“We ran as a team, titled ‘Together We Can.’ We succeeded, and since then we have settled all outstanding lawsuits without going to court, created an atmosphere of attracting investment and new business, prioritized delivering the best public safety response times, investing in our personnel, training and capital equipment.
Since 2008, the township has grown from a population of around 19,000 to almost 34,000 today.
“We are still growing, several new residential developments are proposed, and when these come to fruition, the township will grow even more,” Linko said. “What I’m even more proud of is the diversity of our township. We have many diverse religious places of worship and I am very proud that they call Brownstown home.
The township has three school districts, with Brownstown/Woodhaven Schools being the largest district in the township and “our residents paying the majority of the district’s revenue”. Gibraltar Schools is the second largest district, with a ward in the Taylor School District.
When Wright retired, the board appointed Linko as supervisor. He was re-elected in 2012, 2016 and 2020 with the entire board functioning as a team.
Since 2008, the township has had a balanced budget and three consecutive bond rating increases, allowing the township to tie up for larger purchases and projects, such as the recreation campus.
“Our recreational campus has been a success, even residents from neighboring communities have visited us,” he said. “We will continue to expand opportunities for all of our residents and Downstream residents to enjoy recreational opportunities.”
The outlook for the township is excellent, he said.
“There are plans to expand Telegraph Rd., lots of interest in new residential developments and new interest in small businesses from here,” he said. “The Henry Ford Medical Facility is looking to expand, we will have two main routes for the expansion of the medical facility. My only regrets are not being able to attract an office and competition and more choices for our increasing residential growth of new grocery retail businesses. »
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most difficult event for running the township, he said.
“Protecting our employees first, and the public, has become a daily, and mostly, hour-to-hour change in policy implementation and how we have managed,” he said. he declares. “Since the pandemic, we have been experiencing what many companies are experiencing: a shortage of labor and vacancies. We still have positions open. The problem that bothers me the most is one township or city hiring another, poaching as we call it. The most affected service was waste collection and disposal. We have contracted with Waste Management and have never had the problems we are having this year. The unfortunate problem is… the industry has had to raise wages dramatically to attract workers, leading to increased pass-through costs.
New ventures in the township since 2008 include an $8 million investment from MTU, one of five global warehouses in the region. GM announced its first investment in North America with its new battery plant in Brownstown and continues to invest in the expansion of its future electric vehicle, Linko said. Reino Linen has invested in a factory in the former US Postal Service building and is growing and expanding.
“All of these businesses are in our Ashley Capital business park which has seen the highest vacancy rate in years at its Michigan facility,” he said. “The township has always invested in its infrastructure, especially water and sewer infrastructure.” Other accomplishments during his tenure include:
- Completion of a watermain project that increased flow to the northern part of the township.
- Completed 169,000 feet of sanitary sewer cleaning and design.
- Completion of a 43,000 foot line for the water main project for the southern section.
- Continue to be part of an effort to promote regionalism for services as a member of the region’s utilities and wastewater authorities.
- Worked to implement solar power for local facilities.
- Install LED street lighting.
- Continue to invest in green energy projects.
- Partner with Wayne County in its County Roads Initiative program to pave the worst roads and allow more roads to be repaired.
After 14 years, he said the township has built a great relationship and shared success with local officials and the Michigan Townships Association.