OSCODA – Oscoda Township Trustee Jeremy Spencer proposed some changes to the way the township communicates to its constituents during the regular board meeting on Jan. 11. 

One of those changes includes deactivating the township’s social media, and relaying information solely through the new township website, which is currently being redesigned. 

“There’s been a lot of social media disruption in the world today, a lot of social media platforms removing content for whatever reasons they deem necessary, and I believe that the Oscoda Township does not need a Facebook or any other social media accounts,” Spencer explained to board members, making a motion to deactivate any township social media after the website is complete.

Several of the board members agreed it would be a good move, including Trustee Bill Palmer who supported the motion, and Trustee Tim Cummings, who suggested they make sure the various announcements don’t clutter up the website’s homepage.

“I don’t know all the things that we generally post on social media, I use the website, I don’t look at our Facebook page,” Cummings said. “But I think it would be good to have some idea of how we’d resolve where we would put that information without messing up the home page or something.”

The last post on the Oscoda Charter Township Facebook page was on Dec. 23, and 2,032 people currently “like” the page. However, Economic Improvement Committee Director Todd Dickerson chimed in to explain that the EIC has its own Facebook page, which they have used a lot recently to share various COVID-19 grant opportunities for local small businesses. 

“We don’t have every business’s email yet, so we put it on social media hoping that they see it and understand that there’s a new PPE grant coming out, or this MEDC survivor grant that’s going to be launched in 10 days, so we use that and we find it pretty effective,” Dickerson explained. “They just don’t check our website a lot.”

But Spencer still felt that didn’t warrant keeping the page up long-term.

“I appreciate that you guys are using it and that’s great, but with the current climate of social media, and the fact that they do own whatever we put up there and they can take down whatever they deem necessary, it just doesn’t seem like an effective form of communication,” Spencer said.

But Dickerson requested they be able to keep the page up another two weeks, until the most recent grant information is released.

“It’s so important to our small businesses, I want to give it as best chance for everyone to see as possible,” Dickerson said. “That would also give us some time to do some grassroots to educate those people who maybe got used to where it was at, to get them redirected to our website.”

Spencer amended his motion to include 14 days for the EIC Facebook page, and this time Cummings offered support. It passed 7-0.

Spencer also suggested the township put in a request to change its website URL from OscodaTwpMI.gov to simply Oscoda.gov. He explained that the registrar prevented them from doing this in the past, but they have since relaxed the regulations for the process.

“They’re saying the restrictions on that have been relaxed significantly and since there aren’t many Oscodas, if there are any other Oscodas in the country at all, that we should be able to get that Oscoda.gov with a simple request,” Spencer said.

Palmer asked if there would be a conflict with Oscoda County, which Spencer said would be determined by the registrar. The board agreed Spencer should continue with the process and bring more information to the next board meeting for a vote.

Another suggestion from Spencer involved Michigan Community Television, or MiCTV, the local public access station for Iosco County and surrounding areas. Spencer suggested the township no longer pay to broadcast the meetings.

“It just seems like we’re just having more and more problems keeping that on the air, and the folks in charge of MiCTV, it’s lost its lackluster,” Spencer said. “It just doesn’t seem to be kept up in a timely fashion, we’re not getting any feedback on it, it’s an expense to the township and the information and those videos can be conveyed to the township in a different manner and I think we should explore those opportunities.”

He said he would want to keep MiC as the organization that records the meetings and posts them online, such as on YouTube, but he’d also like to add those videos to the township website with the meeting documents so the public can find them easily.

Supervisor Ann Richards said this is one topic that he’d have to bring back to the board with some more background information before they can take a vote on it. They agreed to add the item to a work session scheduled for Jan. 22.

“We can definitely kick it around a little bit, find out what information is lacking, what information we have, and I think that’s a great idea,” Spencer said.

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