March 28, 2000

The Oshtemo Township Board held its regular meeting at the Township Hall. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Fleckenstein, at 7:00 p.m.

Supervisor Ron Fleckenstein
Clerk Deb Everett
Trustee Norm Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Patricia Mason, Township Attorney, Bob Snell, Township Engineer, and 6 interested people.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to approve the minutes of the March 14th meeting. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $11,986.60 and disbursements of $71,455.98 were reported. Income to the Fire Fund of $190.50 and disbursements of $77,140.27 were reported. Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.


Supervisor Fleckenstein introduced Kalamazoo County Sheriff Tom Edmonds who was in attendance. Engineer Snell inquired if he plans to seek re-election; Sheriff Edmonds advised that he has filed as a candidate.

Elaine Branch, 7654 West Main, inquired regarding the status of expansion of the disc golf course at the Township Park and if any complaints had been received. Park Committee Chairman Trustee Johnson advised the layout has been received and we have not received any complaints.


Supervisor Fleckenstein presented the Cablevision Franchise agreement, advising negotiations have been ongoing the past few years and a tentative agreement has been reached. He further explained Cablevision has entered into an agreement that Cablevision stock will be acquired by Charter Communications.

Mr. Fleckenstein reviewed highlights of the 10 year agreement; the service area being the entire Township at franchisee discretion, a required minimum of 550 megahertz (MHZ), Cablevision will provide notification of upgrades and extensions to the Township, the Township reserves the right to inspect the system, upgrades and/or extensions, 4 access channels will be provided with potential under certain circumstances of eventually going to 6, an interconnect with Adelphia which will provide an institutional network, Cablevision will design, install and maintain the system to sites identified by the Township, subscribers will have the right to downgrade service, and Cablevision will pay a fee of up to 5% of annual gross receipts to the Township.

In response to Board members questions, Gary Wightman, representing Cablevision, provided the following: the institutional network (I-Net) is a set of dark fibers being installed to over 50 points in the Kalamazoo service area which allow end users at these points to connect electronics to the fibers which can transport video data, and provide high speed internet service. He further explained that the system being installed is 750 MHZ which accommodates high speed data, internet access and a broader range of video product and Charter Communications has indicated they are anxious to implement the services. The new system will allow customers to have internet access and cable in one wire. Upgrade of the system is approximately 30% complete and upgrades in Oshtemo Township should be completed by the end of the year or early next year. The first phase is to expand video services, then implement new services. The internet access through the cable would not tie up a phone line and is always connected, no dialing in necessary, cost averages approximately $40.00 per month for the internet access in addition to cable service. Upgrade that has been completed now provides 78 channels.

Elaine Branch, as former Clerk had been involved in the negotiations, inquired concerning expansion to areas not currently covered. Mr. Wightman advised that while specified areas are not in the agreement, those areas not covered should be finished in the next couple of months. The agreement provides that if development occurs at a rate of 15 homes per mile beyond the end point of service, it must extended.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Block to approve the resolution approving the franchise agreement and transfer to Charter Communications. Roll call vote showed Johnson-yes, Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Consideration of participation in a Multi-Jurisdictional Watershed Agreement@, the purpose of which is to coordinate activities of governmental units in the Kalamazoo River watershed to address stormwater issues and enhance protection of the watershed, was back before the Board after being postponed at the March 14th meeting. The cost for participation would be $1,578.00 for a two year period and would be administered by the committee which has been working on the plan.

Engineer Snell had expressed concern at the word Aquantity@ being part of the agreement, feeling it should be clarified that it refers only to stormwater. Mr. Fleckenstein advised he has confirmed that the agreement addresses only stormwater.

Clerk Everett inquired if Mr. Snell was satisfied with the clarification. He advised as long as the general understanding and the legal interpretation is that the agreement deals with surface waters and drainage and not groundwater pumping wells, he feels this is a good agreement. Clerk Everett further questioned what will occur at the end of the 2 year agreement. Supervisor Fleckenstein advised assessment will be done at that time as to whether a renewal is necessary.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to approve participation based on the understanding that the agreement addresses only stormwater. Roll call vote showed Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Johnson-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised he and Engineer Snell had reviewed the Sanitary Sewer rate structure policy and determined some adjustments were appropriate.

After review by Mr. Snell of their analysis, the following changes are recommended:

Define the $3,000 charge, currently described as a connection fee, as a parcel, lot or building site fee which covers the cost of connection and sewer line construction in the street and in addition to the current policy of refunding 80% of the front foot charge, 80% of the parcel, lot or building site fee would also be refunded to a developer who pays for sewer installation.

It was noted there were several typographical errors in the resolution; Clerk Everett questioned if there should be a corrected document prepared before action is taken. Attorney Mason advised the motion to approve can recognize the changes and corrections.

Trustee Block commented he felt this is a good document and shows the willingness of the Township to work with developers to share the cost.

Motion made by Block, seconded by Anderson to adopt the resolution reflecting the changes, with the corrected document to be proofread by the Clerk. Roll call vote showed Johnson-yes, Everett-yes, Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised a review and revision of the Employee Personnel Manual

has been underway for quite some time. Working with information learned at Personnel Law Update conferences and the assistance of our attorneys, it was determined the handbook needed to be updated to be legally correct. A number of areas were modified, one of most significant being the language as it relates to the employer/employee relationship; we are and have always been an at will employer and there were contridictory paragraphs concerning the issue as it relates to disciplinary action and were inappropriate in the attorneys opinion.

Other changes include clarifying that employees are paid when summoned for court or selected for jury duty, a change in the statement addressing reimbursement for use of personal vehicles from Acurrent rate@ to Arate at time of travel@, a change in the policy prohibiting township vehicles being used for overnight travel, to be allowed at the discretion of the Supervisor when deemed appropriate, and a change related to employees who may also become elected officials which now states any person elected to the Township Board may not also serve as a full or part time employee.

Trustee Block questioned if adjustments can be made or is an entire review done every five or so years. Mr. Fleckenstein advised the last review was about five years ago but feels adjustments should be made when necessary and a supplement distributed rather than accumulating revisions, this would keep the handbook current.

Clerk Everett inquired why the definition of eligible employees for disability income insurance and deferred compensation were different. After review, it was determined the definition should be the same for both, full time exempt and non-exempt employees are eligible for both benefits.

Mrs. Everett also pointed out that the positions of Building Inspector, Appraiser and Planner were not listed under Exempt Employees-Professional. It was determined they should be.

Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Block to approve the revisions and changes as discussed.

Clerk Everett commented she feels this is a very important document and while agreeing to the revisions, would have preferred and finds it appropriate to have consideration of the full Board.

Roll call vote showed Anderson-yes, Block-yes, Everett-yes, Johnson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Trustee Anderson advised the new fire department car has been delivered.

Mr. Anderson also inquired about the dangerous building status of the residence at 6137 Horizon Heights. Attorney Mason advised the requirements of the first deadline had been met and the final deadline for compliance is April 28th, noting that substantial work has been done.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised the demolition contract for the former Viking Die Cast and Midwest Aluminum sites on Stadium Drive has been awarded by the DEQ. Work is scheduled to begin on April 10th and will be completed in 3-4 weeks.

Mr. Fleckenstein also advised the Park Committee will make a recommendation regarding the problems with grubs, which have done considerable damage at Flesher Field, at the April 11th meeting.


There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

DEBORAH L. EVERETT                                              Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk                                                                                Supervisor