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Report On Highlights of March 9, 1998 Township Board Meeting.

Seven winter residents joined Supervisor Jim Boggio, Clerk John Clarkson, Treasurer Gerry Johnson, Trustee Don Keith, Deputy Clerk Nancy Clarkson and Deputy Treasurer Ann Johnson in the Township Hall for the February meeting. Assessor Bob Taylor, returned from his winter sojourn in the Carolinas for the Board of Review meeting, was also present. (As usual, adding more than a little levity to the proceedings.)

February Meeting Minutes . Approved.

New Fire Truck ProposalThe Board is proceeding on the premise that the truck, if purchased, will be financed by levying a special assessment against Township properties. This process requires two public hearings; the first on the question of what, if any, truck to buy, and the second, assuming a decision to purchase is made following the first hearing, on the question of what properties should be included in the special assessment district and what the rate of assessment would be. (The current plan is to include all Township properties in the Special Assessment District and allocate the approved truck purchase and related financing costs against those properties on the basis of their relative assessed values.) The Board plans to hold these hearing in early to mid summer, the exact dates to be set by the Board in conformance with the Michigan Special Assessment District statute. The Board directed the Volunteer Fire Department to prepare a written outline specification for the truck recommended by the Department that the Township Clerk can use to secure reliable cost estimates , a required prerequisite to the first hearing. In response to a query at the February meeting as to the choice of diesel vs. gasoline fueled engines, always thorough Don Keith presented a stirring and VERY comprehensive report on the issue, convincingly making the case for diesel on the basis of advice he had obtained from area fire departments, County Road Commission truck maintenance personnel, the US Coast Guard, semi and logging truck operators, fuel vendors, and almost everyone else with knowledge on the weighty subject. He seemed to put the issue to bed.(Almost literally.)

1998-1999 Township Buget Adopted

A Township Buget for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 1998 was approved by the Board. Expenditures total $145,468, up $11,630 or 9% over the 1997-1998 Budget. (Go to the Township page to see the 1995 through 1999, by fund, expenditure comparisons.) The General Fund, which provides for the Township's general operating expenses, showed the biggest increase. It's up about $23,000, or 33%, primarily due to the allocation of $25,000 for an expansion to the Township office. The expansion would add office space, office storage space, public restrooms available to people using the adjacent Township park and ball fields, and needed modifications to the septic system. The only other major increases were in election expenses, up about $2,900 (no elections in 1998, at least two anticipated in 1999); and, audit costs, at $2,850 (audits are required every other year). The Supervisor's account in the General Fund budget provides about $7,000 in contingency funds. These are used for unanticipated but desirable, or necessary, expenditures such as this year's aquisition of some lots along Eliza Creek to protect the creek environ, and removing the excessive amount of sand being blown into the village this year from the snowless beach. The Water Fund is down about $11,000 to $15,500, due primarily to repair costs to the system being much less than anticipated. The budget for operating the Township's solid waste facility is about $21,500, the same as last year. User fees offset the annual operating expenses of both the Water and the Solid Waste systems.

Hiring of Township Maintenance Supervisor and Solid Waste Facility Manager.

Supervisor Boggio reported that the Township had received twelve inquires about the part-time maintenance position and three about the part-time solid waste position. Only two of the maintenance contacts submitted resumes. He noted that Don Keith and Don Koop had been consulted about the matter. He recommended that John Clarkson be appointed to the maintenance position and that Clarence Bach, who has been the interim solid waste facility operator, be appointed to that position. The Board approved the recommendations. The positions will pay $10 per hour. or $12 per hour for the maintenance position for skilled work requiring the provision of tools the township doesn't own. John is the Township Clerk and is also paid a per case fee for reviewing and filing proposed land divisions. The Township recovers the fee from the land division applicant.

Pine Grove Cemetery ExpansionSupervisor Boggio reported that the Township had completed the purchase of an additional 5o feet of land along the rear of the cemetery. The cost was $5,000. He noted that there were sufficient funds in the Cemetery Fund to pay for the acquisition. The Board authorized the purchase. Jim, once again, suggested that persons interested in obtaining burial sites at Pine Grove do so quickly since demand was high and the current price of $100 per lot for Township taxpayers might soon need to be raised.

Eliza Creek Land Acquistion.

Jim Boggio also reported that the Township's purchase of five lots alongside Eliza Creek between Fifth and Sixth Streets and between the Catholic Church and the Archer cottage had been completed. The cost was $5,000. The County Road Commission has agreed to reimburse the Township for half the cost and assist the Township in establishing a park on the site.

Water System Construction Surcharge.The authorization for the $50 per quarter surcharge on water system billings will expire in mid 1998. These funds were used to pay for the Township's share of the water system improvements (wells, pump station, new trunk line, etc). Those costs have now been paid and recent and current surcharge billings have been accumulating in a fund to pay for future improvements. Jim said the Water Board will review the merit of extending the authorization and submit a recommendation to the Township Board this spring.

Township Special Millage ExtensionTownship voters three years ago approved an additional three mills of Township tax levy. The Board plans to resubmit the matter to Township voters this year, requesting an extension of three mills for three years. This extra levy currently generates about $45,000 a year, almost 60% of the Township's General Fund revenue. A special election on this matter, as well as filling the unexpired term of former trustee Peter Van Pelt (Nancy Sherk was appointed to the postion until an election is held), can be expected sometime this summer.

Houghton Township Query About Use Of Township Solid Waste FacilitySolid Waste Committe chair Bruce Olson reported the committee was reviewing a inquiry by the Houghton Township (Eagle River) Supervisor about their residents using the Eagle Harbor Township's solid waste facility. The about 50 residences in the Eagle River area currently leave their waste in a Township building and contract to haul it away. Bruce reported that the committee would review the inquiry carefully, noting that issues of equitable cost sharing, billing procedures, impact on Eagle Harbor Township solid waste facility users, etc. will be considered.

Other Stuff Supervisor Boggio reported that restoration work on the Eagle Harbor School would resume in the spring and that oversize sign Keweenaw Memorial Medical Center, who operate a clinic in the building, installed on the site would be scaled down. He said the State Health Department was recommending that the Township acquire additional land around its well sites to reduce the risk of pollution of the ground water. The Township now owns ten acres. A site of about 180 acres was suggested. Jim will investigate. Don Keith reported that five burials were scheduled at Pine Grove and that the grave digger had left the area. We need a grave digger!! The Board adopted a motion offered by Don Keith expressing the Board's support of the request of St John's Abby for a zoning variance allowing them to operate a public church on their property. The Board reappointed it's bank, auditor and legal counsel. The deterioating state of the shortcut road to US 41 was noted and everyone was urged to contact the County Road Commission urging immediate repair. Last, and probably least, Jim reported a big increase in the Eagle Harbor beaver population due to low water levels. He encouraged everyone to report sightings to him so that he could take "appropriate action against the pesky varmints". Jim has a thing about beavers.

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