Township Board Minutes

November 23, 1999


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
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norm Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Patricia Mason, Township Attorney, Bob Snell, Township Engineer, and Bob Horton, Township Building Official, along with 3 interested people.

Clerk Everett advised a correction of the minutes of the November 9th meeting was needed. The term Anon-motorized vehicles@ should have been Amotorized@ referring to the type of vehicle which would probably be allowed on the proposed Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway. Motion made by Brown, supported by Johnson to approve the minutes of the November 9th meeting as corrected and the minutes of the joint meeting of November 16th as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $13,738.23 and disbursements of $91,967.61 were reported. Income to the Fire Fund of $17.83 and disbursements of $92,128.02 were reported. Motion made by Anderson, supported by Block to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.




A Gas Franchise Ordinance for Midwest Energy Cooperative presented at the November 9th meeting was before the Board for Second Reading.

A representative of Midwest Energy Cooperative was not present.

William Mabin, representing Consumers Energy was present and advised he was not opposed to the franchise, but had some questions, i.e., where will their gas supply come from and what are their provisions to respond to an emergency. He further commented they will be able to interact with Midwest Energy at the point their application goes to the Public Service Commission.

Motion made by Johnson, supported by Anderson to adopt the ordinance granting a gas franchise to Midwest Energy Cooperative. Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


A recommendation was presented from the Planning Commission for a text amendment which removes the word bearing from Section 11.250(3) of the Zoning Ordinance.

Trustee Bushouse inquired of Building Official Horton the reason for the text amendment. Mr. Horton advised that the ordinance in its current form excludes mobile homes as dwellings. Mr. Horton described the technical definition of a foundation for a mobile home in which the outside perimeter wall is not a bearing wall.

Treasurer Brown felt that Section 11.250(3) read alone seems to raise questions about the construction of the outside perimeter wall, and what materials would be permitted. She felt we should not try regulate the exterior appearance, however, to fit into the neighborhood there is a need for guidelines regarding the exterior wall since it is not the bearing portion of the building.

Attorney Mason felt that the intent to address the problem of skirting, wheels or other impermanent items surrounding the perimeter wall, in the past was addressed in Section 11.250(4), but felt that if the issue is confusing, it should be addressed now.

Clerk Everett stated she found confusing the wording that the foundation shall consist of a fully enclosed attached wall around the perimeter of the dwelling, but in the case of a mobile home the outside perimeter is not technically the foundation, therefore, Section 11.250(3) does not address all dwelling types. She asked if this point is clarified in the other parts of the section. Mr. Horton inquired of Attorney Mason if the Township can regulate aesthetics. Ms. Mason advised that reasonable regulations can be put in place that will provide that a mobile home has a common appearance with a site built and make them aesthetically similar in character.

Treasurer Brown suggested that the wording of Section 11.250(3) and (4) could be changed to clarify the issue of the perimeter wall. Attorney Mason agreed and felt it would be appropriate for the Planning Commission to review this section for changes and possible additions addressing Asimilar in character to the neighborhood@.

Motion made by Everett, supported by Johnson to return the item to the Planning Commission for further review. Carried.


Supervisor Fleckenstein presented a request for extension of the current franchise with Cablevision of Michigan. He advised that negotiations are continuing for a new agreement and feels a resolution will be reached soon. The extension would continue the present agreement through February 29, 2000.

Trustee Bushouse inquired who makes up the consortium involved in the negotiations. Mr. Fleckenstein advised that several local units involved in the Community Access Center entered into an agreement to negotiate with cable providers, however, this particular extension would be for our own individual franchise with Cablevision.

Motion made by Anderson, supported by Block to adopt the resolution extending the current franchise agreement with Cablevision of Michigan through February 29, 2000. Roll call vote showed Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Everett-yes, Brown-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Treasurer Brown advised that she has been exploring avenues to properly invest Township funds as directed by the Township investment policy. Moving the Fire Department fund will help to diversify those funds. She further stated she had solicited bids on the costs of the service charges and Standard Federal came in at a more favorable rate.

Motion made by Everett, supported by Block to adopt the resolution authorizing the checking account with Standard Federal Bank.

In response to a question from Trustee Johnson, Mrs. Brown advised this will be a move from National City to Standard Federal.

Trustee Anderson inquired if interest is earned on checking accounts. Mrs. Brown advised we do not, in fact we pay for checking accounts in the form of service charges. Money earned comes from moving the funds from the checking account to a savings account, or a Asweep account@, whereby, funds are recorded into the checking account, and each night they move out into an investment account. All banks now charge for services, i.e., incoming checks, deposits, withdrawals, electronic services, and her request for bids were based on our usage. She further stated we have investment accounts with Standard Federal and the service has been excellent.

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

Mrs. Brown had one further comment that an article in the most recent issue of Capitol Currents, indicates that as of October 1, 2000 the State Treasury has agreed to electronically transfer state revenue sharing funds.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised that we once again have the opportunity to apply for a cost share grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regarding the KL Avenue Landfill as we did in 1997 and 1998.

He further explained it is necessary to file an application and adopt a resolution stating we will not receive reimbursement from any other source for past cost incurred by the Township as it relates to the KL Avenue Landfill.

Motion made by Anderson, supported by Block to authorize the filing of the application seeking the cost share grant from MDEQ. Carried.

Motion made by Block, supported by Johnson to adopt the resolution stating no other reimbursement will be received regarding the KL Avenue Landfill. Roll call vote showed Anderson-yes, Block-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Supervisor Fleckenstein presented a request from Fire Chief Ken Howe for the purchase of 8 sets of protective fire gear. This is a continuation of a replacement program which ensures new gear every five years which is the accepted industry standard. Reusable older gear is put in stock for probationary firefighters and loaner gear when needed.

Trustee Bushouse inquired if a county wide bid with other departments had been done as in the past which was a benefit in cost. Mr. Fleckenstein advised he would check, stating that joint purchases have been made in the past.

Motion made by Brown, supported by Johnson to approve the purchase of 8 sets of protective gear at a cost of $7,200. Carried.


Personnel Committee Chairman Marv Block presented their recommendations for the elected officials compensation for 2000.

Trustee Block presented a resolution which would set the Supervisor=s salary as of January 1, 2000 at $61,971.00, an increase of 3% and moved for approval, supported by Anderson.

Treasurer Brown advised that her comment would generally apply to all the resolutions that will be presented. She restated her position that there is an inequity among the administrative positions. She further stated that it is still her opinion that all three administrative positions are equal with differing responsibilities and that the salary is amount is not the issue. The issue is recognition of the offices as equals and she asked for that acknowledgment with all three offices at the same level. She reminded the Board that at the 1999 salary discussion the Personnel Committee recommended increases be equal for all three offices in order to reduce the gap and the Personnel Committee had stated they wanted to recognize the work of the Clerk and Treasurer, but for the year 2000 the recommendation is back again based on a percentage basis. She advised that for those reasons she would vote no on all the elected administrators salary for 2000 and again asked that the inequity in these positions be reviewed to the actual office not the personalities and somehow address that with supportive reasons.

Clerk Everett stated that she was well aware that the discussion of elected officials salaries has long been a contentious situation but wanted to express her opinion for the record. She stated that while the individual duties are different, the level of responsibility and the accountability to the taxpayers and residents are equal. She further stated that the issue is not monetary recognition, and pointed out that using the salary step chart that has been adopted by the Board, the potential exists for a scenario where a new Supervisor could be paid less than an incumbent Clerk or Treasurer. She further stated that in her opinion monetary gain and personal recognition should not be motivating factors in seeking an elected office, and that it could be argued that those genuine about public service will seek those positions regardless of salary. She then advised that based on a matter of principle, she would also vote no.

Roll call vote showed Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Block-yes, Anderson-yes, Brown-no, Everett-no, Fleckenstein-yes. Approved 5-2.

Trustee Block presented a resolution which would set the Treasurer=s salary as of January 1, 2000 at $54,693.00, an increase of 3% and moved for approval, supported by Anderson. Roll call vote showed Block-no, Anderson-yes, Bushouse-no, Johnson-no, Everett-no, Brown-no, Fleckenstein-no. Motion failed 6-1.

Trustee Block presented a resolution which would set the Clerk=s salary as of January 1, 2000 at $38,110.00, an increase of 3% and moved for approval, supported by Anderson.

Treasurer Brown questioned in the context of the new salary step chart, where this position is placed. Trustee Block advised that if the Clerk is elected it would be at a Level 2. Mrs. Brown commented that as it stands at this time, the current salary is not on the chart for Level 2, the salary goes on the chart at a Level 6/Step 1. Mr. Block acknowledged that is correct.

Roll call vote showed Johnson-no, Bushouse-no, Everett-no, Brown-no, Block-no, Anderson-yes, Fleckenstein-no. Motion failed 6-1.

Trustee Block presented a resolution which would set the Trustees salary as of January 1, 2000 at $1,500.00 plus $50.00 per meeting attended, an increase of 3% and moved for approval, supported by Anderson. Roll call vote showed Anderson-yes, Block-yes, Brown-yes, Everett-yes, Bushouse-yes, Johnson-yes, Fleckenstein-yes.


Attorney Mason questioned if the 1999 resolutions setting the Clerk and Treasurer salaries would still be in effect since the resolutions presented for 2000 had failed. It was determined that the wording Aas of January 1, 2000" would leave the salaries as set for 1999 until a new resolution is passed.


Supervisor Fleckenstein advised a meeting will be held November 30th, concerning the gypsy moth problem, presented by MSU Extension Office at the Kalamazoo County Administration Building. They are asking for a representative from each municipality. Treasurer Brown indicated she would attend.


Trustee Johnson requested an update on the dangerous building on Horizon Heights. Attorney Mason advised that the owner had asked the court to intervene and a court hearing has been scheduled on December 17th. The owner has indicated that she will taking steps to bring the home into compliance.


Trustee Bushouse asked if the Personnel Committee had considered soliciting the input of other board members regarding the establishment of salaries. Trustee Block responded they have open meetings which are posted.

Trustee Bushouse also advised that the 10th annual Rotary Poinsettia Sale is underway. Proceeds help with park projects.

There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.


DEBORAH L. EVERETT                                              Attested: RON FLECKENSTEIN
Township Clerk                                                                                Supervisor