Year in Review: Midland County with Bridgette Gransden

Intro by Ron Beacom:

The County of Midland covers 528 square miles. The 2020 United States Census reports the county has a population of 83,494.  About half the people live in rural areas, while the other half live in the city of Midland.  In addition to their own local municipality, they are served by the County of Midland government. 

There are seven elected representatives who serve on the County's board of commissioners. The Administrator/Controller for the County is Bridgette Gransden. The Beaverton native started as a CPA (certified public accountant). She first served as the finance director in 1994 and worked her way into the county’s top job in 2009. 

Gransden serves on several different boards and committees in the community and has earned recognition for her efforts including the Athena Award from the Midland Business Alliance and the Lifetime Award and Woman of Achievement from the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region.

Article by Bridgette Gransden:

Midland County Government: There when you need us.”   This was a tagline I started using about eight years ago to increase awareness about county government.  If you don’t know what the county does, or the programs and services we provide, rest assured you are not alone.
The Midland County Department of Public Health is one of the county's more visible services.
We are not in the daily services to residents business like the cities, villages and townships are.  We don’t manage water systems, trash collection, recycling pick up, zoning, etc.  Rather, the County is there when you need something specific, like a copy of a birth certificate, a property deed recorded, international travel immunization, or help with services for a veteran in your family. 

Sometimes, the services we “provide” are not those you need but have to navigate regardless, like the court systems, or various aspects of law enforcement.  In any circumstance, we strive to have a meaningful impact on the quality of life for those who work, live and play here. 
Rev. Wally Mayton wearing his support for Stronger Together.
Recently, you may have seen people wearing shirts that say “Stronger Together” that have the County and City logos woven into the middle.  What started as our internal United Way campaign theme in 2020 to reflect how local government, non-profits, business and individuals all pulled together during a time of crisis…has not only stuck but has continued to ripple throughout the community.  Although some of those collaborations were born out of crisis, 2022 has included some very intentional and thoughtful partnerships making our endeavors even more impactful. 

A decade or two ago, internet access was considered somewhat of a luxury.  Certainly 2020 highlighted that was no longer the case as our kitchen tables became classrooms, doctors’ offices, and conference rooms.  Broadband was the new “utility”.  Several organizations, including Midland County, established the Internet Connectivity Committee to help move the needle.

Focused on improving access and affordability of broadband in Midland, the Board of Commissioners authorized the use of ARPA monies to fund the coordination of this endeavor through the Midland Business Alliance.  Expanded and enhanced connectivity across all 528 square miles of Midland County positions us to be more competitive, inclusive, and the community of choice for more businesses and individuals.
  
Understanding that transformational change requires resources, the Board also partnered with the Midland Area Community Foundation to administer ARPA funded grants. From the onset of the global pandemic, many of the incredible non-profits in Midland continued to assist our residents with needs even though it caused them financial detriment.  These grants are intended to help those organizations recover, as well as put money into their programs to help their clients who were also impacted by COVID-19.  This first phase of grant-making totaled $600,000.  In 2023, the board is expected to consider another round of funding to assist even more agencies.  

In 2023, I look forward to both our continued and new collaborations, as well as the positive outcomes they will bring.  Remember, the County of Midland doesn’t need global pandemics, floods and dams to fail to make this community better. Our team is here to do that every day. When you need us.