Township Board Minutes

November 24, 1998

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 Elaine Branch
Treasurer Lois Brown
Trustee Norman Anderson
Trustee Marvin Block
Trustee David Bushouse
Trustee Fred Johnson

Also present was Richard Reed, Township Attorney, along with 4 interested people.

Motion made by Brown, seconded by Block to approve the minutes of our last regular meeting, November 10, and the Joint meeting on November 17, as prepared. Carried.

Income to the General Fund of $9,509.11 and disbursements of $79,314.76 were reported. Fire Fund income was $385.00 with disbursements of $22,209.56. Motion made by Johnson, seconded by Anderson, to acknowledge the receipts and pay the bills. Carried.


There were no citizens comments.


This item had been tabled at our last meeting for additional information. Attorney Reed reported he had received some material via fax late that day, however, it was not sufficient. He suggested we table the matter until our next meeting, and he will contact Vicki Shumaker to discuss what is needed. Motion made by Block, seconded by Brown to table the matter until December 8. Carried.


Chief Howe was present to explain his request for approval to purchase two-way radio headsets for five of our fire apparatus. They would plan to install two in each truck. The purpose of the headsets would allow the driver and/or the passenger to communicate with the dispatcher, etc. without the use of a microphone. This hands free use, along with clearer reception due to no noise from sirens and motor, should eliminate Amissed@ communication and provide for safer driving.

The cost of the headsets will be $9,000 and was included in the 1998 Equipment Fund Budget.

Treasurer Brown felt the headsets will provide safely for the firefighters and public. She then moved to approve the purchased as proposed. Motion seconded by Johnson. Carried.


Treasurer Brown presented a list of banks and financial institutions she recommended for use as depositories for township funds in 1999. She pointed out that the list is the same as 1998, except for some name changes. Motion made by Branch, seconded by Anderson to approve the list of depositories as recommended. Carried.


Supervisor Fleckenstein reported that they have experienced frequent difficulty administering the Township policy regarding water main connection fees. The policy was reviewed with the help of our Attorney and Engineer. The Sewer and Water Committee recommended adoption of a resolution amending the policy.

The main changes include; a reduction of administrative fees for property owners from 15% to 10% and the addition of a 10% administrative fee for developers. The was also a clarification of assessable front foot charges for lots located on two streets.

Motion made by Anderson, seconded by Johnson to adopt the resolution establishing water main connection fees. Roll call showed: Anderson - yes Johnson - yes Branch - yes Bushouse - yes
Brown - yes Block - yes Fleckenstein - yes


The proposal to reorganize the Council of Governments (C.O.G.) was reviewed by Supervisor Fleckenstein. Some of the major points included:

He further explained that the current plan covered three years. The budget for 1999, which would be a partial year, would be from $229,500 to $269,000. It was anticipated that the next two years would be from $462,000 to $557,000. The budget would be cover by approximately $200,000 from dues and the balance from private foundations or businesses.

There were no public comments and the Board offered the following comments or questions:

Trustee Block - He was in favor of this type of action but had some concerns. He hoped they would not conduct a lengthy nation-wide search for the Executive Director because he felt there should be someone qualified locally who would be familiar with the area.

Regarding the voting policy, he felt one vote per jurisdiction would be simpler.

He felt it may be difficult to obtain an Executive Director for a short three year term.

Trustee Bushouse - He questioned Attorney Reed about the legality of using taxpayers money to support a group like this. Attorney Reed replied that there are four statues that provide for this type of involvement by townships.

Mr. Bushouse further stated he had a problem spending our tax dollars without a guarantee there will be benefits to the township.


Clerk Branch - She read a list of the Pro's and Con's that she considered:


COG is established organization with a positive history to build on.

Not another layer of government. No taxing authority, just a means to bring the units of government together.

Dues and voting formula seems fair.

This type of organization has worked for other regions.



Salaries and fringes for the three personnel would total over a quarter of a million dollars. Executive Director position has been compared to other top local government officials. She failed to see the comparison. The position would not be responsible for hundreds of employees and budgets of millions

She suggested that the County Board could take the position of leadership. They would need addition staff, but the cost would be less.

She was not comfortable with the fast track this proposal was on and objected to the pressure for quick action.


Treasurer Brown -   She stated she understands the concept of cooperation in the County and feels there is cooperation that already exists. She further stated she needs to understand how another layer of rule makers will solve and/or reach a resolution any quicker.

She questioned, what will happen if one unit of government does not agree with the solution to a goal, where do we go from there?

She was concerned about this setting the process one more step away fromthe people who live here in Oshtemo. Do we want that?

Though statue-quo is not the answer for growth in the County, she cautioned the Board that our action should be well thought out. Is this proposal the best process for constructive governing in Oshtemo and Kalamazoo County? We have and can work together without another layer of rule makers. She just was nott convinced it is the right thing for our county.

Supervisor Fleckenstein - Replied that any unit of government could opt out of any proposed agreement or solution, as they currently can. Each Board or Council will have to take action to opt in or out of all agreements.

Trustee Block - Questioned what would happen if some of the units did opt out of an important issue, would all the expense be for nothing?

He went on to say he thought the Board should take more time to consider the matter and moved to table any action until December 8. Motion seconded by Branch. Carried.


Trustee Block reminded everyone of the second leave drop off day on Saturday November 28, from 9:00 to 3:00.


Trustee Anderson asked Fire Chief Howe to report on their recent success due to the use of the thermal imaging camera. Chief Howe stated they were able to avoid tearing into a wall in a home because the camera showed that there was no heat (or fire) between the walls. It saved a lot of property damage.

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


Township Clerk



Date Approved: December 8, 1998