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OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

TOWNSHIP BOARD

July 23, 2002

The Oshtemo Township Board held its work session at the Township Hall. Supervisor VanDyke called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

PRESENT:
Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Lois Brown
Trustee Tom Brodasky
Trustee Jim Worline

Also present was Marc Elliott, Township Engineer.

Discussion included reports from the Parks, Roads, Building & Grounds, and Personnel Committee.

Supervisor VanDyke called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT:
Supervisor John VanDyke
Clerk Deb Everett
Treasurer Nancy Culp
Trustee Tom Brodasky
Trustee Lois Brown
Trustee Jim Worline

Also present was Patricia Mason, Township Attorney, Bob Snell and Marc Elliott, Township Engineers, and approximately 85 interested people.

Motion by Brown, second by Brodasky to approve the minutes of the July 9th meeting. Carried.

Income to the General and Fire Funds of $25,751.31 and disbursements of $110,544.34 were reported. Motion by Brodasky, second by Worline to accept the receipts and disbursements report. Carried.

CITIZENS COMMENTS

Judge Vince Westra, Undersheriff Mike Anderson, and Barb Miller commented on the criminal justice facilities ballot proposals, safety issues in the jail and juvenile home overcrowding, failure of alternative programs, and consolidating facilities.

Leatrice Swander, 3133 South 6th Street, commented while the proposed facility is an excellent idea, the tax increase would be difficult for those on fixed incomes, the cost is too high and there is a need to protect citizens where they live.

Sara Moleski, representing Rep. Tom George advised the Board the line item in the DEQ budget that would require site inspections of possible sources of contamination by July 2003, was removed from the bill in the State Senate.

PUBLIC HEARING - WEST PORT SEWER

Supervisor VanDyke advised a counter petition had been received from the property owners in the proposed district with 70% signing to protest establishment of the special assessment district.

Motion by Brodasky, second by Worline to decline the establishment of the proposed West Port Sanitary Sewer District 2002-1. Roll call vote showed Brodasky-yes, Brown-yes, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, VanDyke-yes, Worline-yes.

Prior to the vote on the motion the following public comment was heard:

Virginia Carpenter, 6189 Westlins commented she signed the first petition because she feels sewer is needed and was told signing the second petition was not against having sewer, it meant a different method of financing was wanted and discussion of funding would be at the next meeting.

Bill Hamilton, 1122 Cadet Lane, commented he had helped to start the original petition and thought there was 51% in favor, then someone started the counter petition because they did not want to pay. When the original petition was circulated he believed the cost would be $7,500-$8,500, some people need the sewer now and the longer it takes the more they will pay.

Rise Landeros, 1175 Bunker Hill, commented she was told the cost would be about the same as a new septic system, the notice she received indicates a project cost of $1,042,000 which comes to $10,525 per homeowner, cost overruns would be assessed, she does not have $10,000 and would not spend it that way, and would like her name removed from the first petition.

Joyce Kuzmitowicz, 6247 Valley Forge, commented she supported the first petition for practical and environmental reasons, was surprised at the increase in cost from their original discussions, urged the Board to seek other funding, i.e., grants, felt the lift station should be paid for by the Township since it will benefit others, and inquired if competitive bidding effect the cost. She also provided a sample special assessment policy for the Board's review.

Ric and Kathy Knapp, 6182 Valley Forge, presented letters from Laura Anderson, 1399 Cadet Lane and Thomas and Dorothy Maupin, owners of 6051 Old Post Road, objecting to the establishment of the district.

Mr. Knapp commented he was asking the Board to vote no on the establishment of the district for the following reasons: a question remained regarding whether a current parcel which is two lots combined would be assessed for one lot or two, if two the cost should be divided by 100 lots, not 99, the first petition referenced by Prein & Newhof in their letter of July 2nd to the Board sounded like there was already a district established, the first petition was circulated as informational only and suggested a cost of $2500 to $3500 per lot or $25.00 per foot, the majority of the signers of the first petition and some of those circulating the information had not intended to create a special assessment district charging each landowner $10,525, and 6044 Rudgate was not included; this middle of block lot would be isolated without sewer access.

He also inquired what other options or funds are available, what other locations have benefited and why was West Port excluded. He further inquired if a gravity feed to Meijers would be possible versus installing 1800 feet of force main with a pump station, could landowners be negatively impacted by the pump station, has the county been contacted for ways to reduce road construction costs, and is the project being rushed at landowners expense.

Mr. Knapp also inquired if the engineer has a conflict of interest in that on July 9th he recommended moving forward on the basis of land mass when in fact the petition had 50.8% signed not 51%, Prein & Newhof would be awarded part of the contract and why was there a discrepancy in their letter where costs of $10,414 and $10,525 were quoted.

He then commented that the second petition sends a clear mandate for no sewer district and asked if the issue would be put to rest and if opened up again what notification would take place. Attorney Mason advised the motion was to deny establishing the district and if petitions were received again in the future the property owners would be noticed as they were with the current petitions.

Mr. Knapp also commented if there is a way he can help his neighbors who would like to have sewer he would like to know, his goal and others is not to set one neighbor against another.

(The vote was taken and most of the audience left.)

Virginia Carpenter, inquired if the Board would explore other ways of funding.

Engineer Snell advised the method of funding is generally done through the sale of bonds or through revolving funds and if a project is generally over a million dollars the Township will go to County Board of Public Works and ask them to contract with the Township; they will sell bonds but before anyone will buy the bonds, they want to know they will be paid back, which is done through special assessment procedures. He also commented that to his knowledge no sewers have been built at others expense. He further commented the cost has gone up and there was some question as to whether they recommended using the current ordinance since rates established in last 5 years have increased, but felt because of some of the bids received last fall for other projects, it was pertinent to review them and on that basis, did review, adjusted them and decided to use an increase in cost over what is in the ordinance. He advised the engineer would be recommending to the Board that if rates are to be kept current with construction costs, they need to be increased to be equivalent to the $10,000 range. He noted the higher cost would effect the West Port situation due to curb and gutter and road reconstruction. He noted the first petition in this case did have the required over 50%, as required, the recommendation was to assess each lot equally since they would all receive the same benefit. He also commented on a past grant program in the 1970's which the Township applied for but did not meet density and ground water pollution requirements to be eligible. The Township has over time installed interceptor connecting development as it occurs.

RECOMMENDATION FROM PARKS COMMITTEE CONSULTANT FOR RECREATION PLAN

Clerk Everett advised the Parks Committee met with Russ Wicklund of Preim Group to discuss formulating a recreation plan since to apply for grants, a current recreation plan updated every five years , is required and the Township does not have a current plan. She commented that the work already done by the Non-Motorized Committee and results of the community surveys are a step ahead in formulating the plan. Ms. Everett also advised the surveys done show a desire for non-motorized pathways, bike lanes and linear trails and Mr. Wicklund has worked on these types of projects for other townships who were contacted and expressed they were very pleased with his work.

The committee is requesting Board approval to expend up to $6,500 on a "time and material" basis to work with Mr. Wicklund to prepare a recreation plan and grant application.

Elaine Branch, 7654 West Main, commented she had a concern in that the Township had a recreation plan and recalled the reason it had not been updated previously was because grant applications were being denied every year; in fact the only recreation grant received was for purchase of land not development. She further commented perhaps requirements have changed but she would object to putting money into a plan that may not reap any benefit. She inquired if any thought had been given to having an intern through resources available from Western Michigan University work on a plan.

Clerk Everett advised she contacted the clerks from Richland and Texas Townships; Richland Township has received grant money and Texas Township starting with their plan. She further advised the Planning Department community surveys done 10 years ago and in 2001, as well as the survey the Park Committee mailed with the newsletter indicate overall interest in non-motorized pathways which also seems to be where grant money is going, looking for connectivity.

Trustee Brown commented the previous plan done by the intern was not successful because in the Planning Director's judgment it was not quality work and did not come before the Township Board. She also commented the grant money seems to be available for connecting one community to another.

Motion by Worline, second by Brodasky to approve an expenditure up to $6,500 to direct Mr. Wicklund to prepare an updated recreation plan and grant application. Carried.

OTHER BUSINESS

Trustee Worline presented the revised Employee Handbook, which the Personnel Committee had been reviewing for several months. He advised the committee had met with the staff to review the changes.

Motion by Worline, second by Brodasky to approve the revised Employee Handbook effective July 23, 2002. Roll call vote showed Brown-yes, Culp-yes, Everett-yes, VanDyke-yes, Worline-yes, Brodasky-yes.

Motion by Brodasky, second by Brown to adopt a resolution implementing a credit card usage policy. Roll call vote showed Culp-yes, Everett-yes, VanDyke-yes,

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:35 p.m.

DEBORAH L. EVERETT
Township Clerk Supervisor
Attested: John VanDyke