Salted with Sharks

News from Homestead Township

In Elsewhere in BenCo..., Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Public Safety on March 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm

By Jeffery D. Stratton

The Homestead Township board of trustees met March 4, 2013, at 7 pm in the Township Hall in the Village of Honor. The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, approval of the agenda, and the approval of last month’s minutes.


The board only received one bid for the township park maintenance contract for this year. They tabled a decision on that bid until the next meeting, in April.

The township sexton is asking for a pay increase of $50 for all the service that he currently offers. His contract ends May 7, 2013. The position will be put out for bid in April. This position is a four-year contract with the township.

The board is seeking someone to run the concession stand at the ball fields for the 2013 session. Concessioners pay a one-time fee of $375 but otherwise keep any proceeds. The concession booth “rent” fee is used to test the water in the well site. The well is shut down at the end of each season and has to be retested each year before the concession can be used.

The board, which is made up of people who are mostly new to board membership, went over the new year’s business for 2013, including meeting dates, Robert’s Rules of Order, who will make deposits for the township, and truth in taxation.

The board looked at the one bid for maintaining the large ball field. It was from Northern Green Lawn for $838. Northern Green Lawn has done this for the township for years. The board decided to hold off until April’s meeting to award this bid, since the newspaper ad said people had until March 5 to get bids in.

OLD BUSINESS No one had yet volunteered to be on the township park board.

The fire department’s mutual aid agreement was on hold again. The board asked that some of the language in the agreement be changed or added. They want a 30-day review if the ambulance was going to be stored at the township fire hall for more than 30 days for whatever reason. Also they wanted a definition of “short-term.”

Ambulance numbers are up for January and February due to flu season. County EMS is getting a new ambulance in the next few weeks as well.

By role-call vote of 3 for and 2 against, the board gave the go-ahead for the fire department to go after bids for a new pumper truck. This does not mean that the fire department is OK’d to purchase the truck at this time. The bids for the new tanker must be in by the next April’s board meeting.

The reason for the hesitation of the board’s part was they felt the fire department was falling apart with the fact that firemen keep leaving the department and with morale issues with the chief.

Research was still being done on the air packs and there was nothing to report.

The Township Hall contract was tabled.

The township moved a certificate of deposit of $104K to the Central State Bank.

The township cleanup day was going to continue this year as usual. There was some discussion by the board to limit this event to every other year, to charge a fee, or not to do it at all. This event costs an average of $8K–$9K to put on each year. One board member thought we could better utilize this money for other projects. Another board member felt this was the only thing that the township did for the people of the township. There will be a survey in the summer tax bill about this annual event.


PUBLIC COMMENT  Jeffrey Stratton had some questions for the board about the fire tanker and the township cleanup.


JDS: Does the fire department have the money to purchase this new tanker?


Homestead Township Board: Yes. We voted on a millage for $65K over the next 6 years to help purchase this new tanker for the department.


JDS: Does the fire department have any capital reverses for the purchase of this new tanker?


HTB: Yes. They currently have $100K in an account for equipment replacement and repair. Plus the $65K from the millage that has been collected to date—a total of $165K so far for the purchase of a new tanker.


JDS: What is the cost roughly of this new tanker?


HTB: About $250K. Since they do not have that full amount they would have to apply for a loan to pay for the tanker, until all the monies have been collected from the millage.


JDS: So I do not understand why the fire department is not getting the go ahead to purchase the new tanker? Why was there even any discussion about this, once all the bids have been received in April? They have some of the money and the voters approved the millage for the rest.


Stratton told them about the upcoming event in Traverse City March 10, put on by Michigan Green Consortium, to which he belongs, at the American Waste facility on Hughes Drive. This is a free event and anyone can bring trash there for disposal. This event happens twice a year when there is a time change in the spring and fall. The board hadn’t heard of this event.


JDS: My question to you is why start charging for the township cleanup event? You are already using taxpayer money to do this. Do you think that will get people to come? My neighbors just throw their garbage out in their yard and in the woods, which I can see from my house. If they can’t pay for garbage pickup now, how are they going to pay for this? Have you not looked at Google Maps lately? There is trash everywhere.


HTB: We are hoping they will not do these things and will get rid of it here [at the cleanup]. Again if they don’t participate then we could use the money somewhere else. We have a trash ordinance but we don’t enforce it because of the attorney fees.


The meeting was adjourned around 9 pm. . Ψ

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