Salted with Sharks

Stairway to Heaven: May Twp Board Meeting Report

In Politics on May 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Gilmore Township Board Meeting, Tuesday, May 11, 2011

Dennis Holcombe and Karen Roberts of the township planning commission reported on a meeting they attended with AES (Alliance for Economic Success), who are offering to assist the townships (Blaine, Pleasanton, Arcadia, Gilmore, Crystal Lake, and Joyfield were mentioned) with a joint master planning process. AES recommends the joint master plan process as a better way to get grants from the state, which they say tends to favor regional planning initiatives. The grant money should be available in the fall and the process will take a year from that point. Two people from each township will serve as a “leadership team” and attend meetings with AES consultants who will travel here. The service is free for participating townships. Karen Roberts pointed out that the AES master plan approach appears to be more “practical,” with greater attention paid to commercial development, than the county master plan. After receiving assurance from Holcombe and Roberts that the program was not going to cost the township any money, the Gilmore board voted to participate in it.

Marcia Stobie reported on the county commissioners meeting. The county budget cycle begins October 1 and the board expects to be working with less money this year. Meanwhile MSU Extension wants to raise more money from the county this year. Thelma Rider-Novak’s concerns about contract irregularities for Maples administrator have been turned over to the Maples Board, but the building project is going ahead, with architect’s fees reduced to 8% (from 11%), which Stobie said was more in line with what they ought to be. Joyfield Township has met with Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NMCoG) on its planning. Stobie encouraged attendance at the Reapportionment Committee meeting on Thursday, May 12, when the Republicans are to propose combining Don Tanner and Marcia Stobie into one district. The EDC Commission is evaluating sites for a proposed business park. Stobie mentioned that Frankfort–Elberta Schools superintendent Tom Stobie and Darwin Booher had “mixed it up a bit” over school funding at the EDC luncheon on April 29.

The township budget report was accepted. Overages were caused by increased attorney fees and fees associated with the planning and zoning process; increased heating costs for the library this winter; an increase in QuickBooks fees; and a bigger cost for first responders. Carl Noffsinger noted that Gilmore was recently mistakenly charged for a Frankfort first response.

The township has received a grant to fund the creation of a stairway from the short end of Grace Road down to the Lake Michigan beach. Now a permit is required from the county. This project has been 8 to 10 years in the making, and though there has been some threat of lawsuit, Laura Manville assured members of the board that the grant funders are convinced the township legally owns the property and the project can’t be legally stopped. The project plans must show there will be no more than 20 risers before a landing, and that washing out has been mitigated. Most of the grant match funding will be in kind.

The millage election went smoothly until the end, when the machine wouldn’t print, but Sharyn Bower, after being walked through a fix on the machine, now is practically a voting machine tech. She said the turnout was fairly decent. The Benzie Bus millage renewal was passed.

The board gave permission to Carl Noffsinger to spend up to $1,500 for the removal of three trees in the cemetery. He will choose a insured tree surgeon from among the bids received.

Chip sealing work needs to be done between Forrester and Nugent roads. It’s been 10-plus years since they’ve been repaired, and Gilmore’s roads showed up as poorly rated on a recent report. Gilmore is responsible for half the repair costs and Blaine the other half. Since Blaine has not yet responded to the Road Commission on this topic, the Gilmore board voted to wait on that repair and go ahead and chip seal Sliverville Road from Paul Rose to the end of the pavement.

Dennis Holcombe requested more time to review the language he inserted incorporating a recent letter from the Fish and Wildlife Service into the township’s wind ordinance. A special meeting of the board will be held to review the revised ordinance amendment.—Emily Votruba

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