CHARLEVOIX — Robbin Kraft retired from her position of Hayes Township treasurer after 27 years of service on Sept. 20.
Kraft is a longtime resident of Hayes Township. Kraft and her husband, George, moved from Charlevoix into their newly built home on Shrigley Road in 1979. She became involved in township government when appointed treasurer in 1991.
She has subsequently been re-elected as township treasurer every election since.
Kraft worked at Charlevoix Area Hospital (Munson Health Care) beginning in 1978 in the admitting department. After eight years in admitting, she transferred to the billing department, working there until last spring. Kraft said she has seen lots of changes during hospital expansions and that she really enjoyed working with the billing department staff. She spoke highly of the hospital care saying that the hospital staff saved her life on two different occasions.
Kraft said things have also changed a lot since she began her service as township treasurer going from all manual accounting work with paper, pencil and adding machines to the use of various computer software programs.
Kraft stated that she always received good audit reports. Township residents have been really appreciative since she established office hours and implemented many changes in the treasurer’s job. Kraft is proud of her modernization of township financial record keeping and said that has been a big accomplishment during her service as treasurer. In addition to the treasurer maintaining computerized records and now printing township tax bills, other township records are now also computerized by the clerk, assessor and zoning administrator.
Kraft said her job was more than just accounting and writing checks. When she served as the Hayes Township liaison to the Big Rock Citizen Advisory Board prior to and during the plant decommissioning, she learned a lot about nuclear power plants. She regularly presented Big Rock progress reports to the township board.
Kraft hired and trained many deputy treasurers over the years. She would like to recognize the technical expertise and dedication of Janet Simpson, Peggy Evans, Mari Jo Bascom, Tamra Daman and her last deputy treasurer, Patti Feliciano.
“It has been great working with Robbin,” said Marlene Golovich, Hayes Township clerk. “The clerk and the treasurer work closely together and Robbin was always available to give me needed information or provide support. I will miss her years of experience and her quiet sense of humor. She was very devoted to the residents of Hayes Township and it shows in her work as treasurer.”
Kraft believes one of the greatest accomplishments of Hayes Township has been the purchase of the historic girls’ camp, Camp Sea-Gull, now renamed Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull.
“I am grateful I could stay long enough to get Phase I of Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull started,” Kraft said.
Kraft believes that the new access road and parking area near the beach are necessary for everyone to enjoy the park’s future waterfront amenities. Many township residents have medical conditions that limit their mobility. She said that the new road and parking will also make it much easier for families with young children to access the beach. Phase I includes the access road, parking, boat launch, fishing pier, rain gardens and restrooms.
Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull is comprised of 20 acres and 1,400 feet of Lake Charlevoix frontage which gives the public access to the lake. This was made possible by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant and a lot of work by the township board and the financial support of individual donors. Hayes Township closed on the purchase in January 2014.
Kraft agrees with Ethel Knepp, former supervisor, who always said the township board would have been remiss to squander the opportunity to purchase that much lakefront property at a cost to the township of $500,000 which was only 12 percent of the purchase price after awarded grant funds and generous donations.
When asked why she is retiring, Kraft laughed and said she was “getting old.” Actually, Kraft and her husband will be moving downstate to be closer to their daughter and extended family.
“It will seem different in Hayes Township without Robbin as our treasurer,” said Paul Hoadley, Hayes Township trustee and former Hayes Township supervisor. “The job always got done and all the tax dollars got to the right places. She is not your typical politician. She listened to discussion until she said what needed to be said. She patiently endured the political attacks against her by those who did not want the board to follow through with the approved plan for Park Camp Sea-Gull. She stuck to her best judgment and voted for the good of the township. Yep, I’ll miss her.”