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Township Board Meeting Report

This report is very unofficial -- just observations of Your Editor.

Report On Highlights of April 13, 1998 Township Board Meeting.

Ten spring 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 April meeting. As is always the case at Township meetings, the proceedings began promptly at 7 p.m., if not before....a habit that probably evolved from the early days of Monday night football.

March Meeting Minutes . Approved.

Treasurer's Report

There is plenty of money in the bank and in CD's, about $254,000 total for all funds, and income and expense accounts are on plan. The sustantial funds on hand reflect recent tax receipts, some dedicated accounts (like the money donated for the School restoration) and reserves built up in the Water ($78,000) and Solid Waste ($16,700) Funds.

Township Hall Expansion.

Residents Bob Masnado and Dick Lantz reported that at the request with Supervisor Jim Boggio and in cooperation with Clerk and Township maintenance guru John Clarkson, they had prepared a pleliminary plan for the expansion of the Township Hall. The current budget has earmarked $25,000 for the project. They said the proposed expansion would provide for men's and women's bathrooms, accessible from outside; an enlargement of the meeting room; some office storage space; and, an expansion of the office space. The expansion would be to the rear of the existing structure. I believe they said it would be 16' deep and extend across the width of the existing structure (not including the fire hall). Bob said they would begin to get some estimates and some modifications may be necessary when they get a better handle on costs. The project includes a relocation of the septic system, and improvements, if needed. Everyone thought the expansion was a fine idea, although a caution about the planning not locking in the possibility for future expansions was noted. The committee, which includes Vern Robinson, will continue to get the project ready to go. Supervisor Jim noted that construction could not start until and unless Township voters approved the continuation of the 3 mills of township operating fund tax at the June 13th election.

Special Township Millage Election

Three years ago, Township voters authorized an additional three mills of property tax levy for general township operating purposes. I believe it's on top of about 1 mill permissible without voter OK. That authorization expired in 1997. A special election will be held on Saturaday, June 13th on the question of authorizing the renewal of the three mills for the years 1998 through 2000. The budget for this year was established on the premise the three mills would be approved. The three mills would raise an estimated $45,800.

Water System Improvements

Supervisor Boggio reported that he had met with representatives of the State Health Department about the need to acquire additional property around the Township water wells to protect the aquifier from surface infiltration contamination. He said the State recommended an additional 80 acres of land. The Township currently owns about ten acres. Jim also noted that the Township also needed to assure the existance of adequate access easement to the pump house site. He will be meeting with Lake Superior Land Company to discuss these needs. Jim said that the Township should also consider protecting land for a future water storage reservoir on the hill just to the southwest of the pump house site. Jim noted that Township costs for any of this would be borne by water system users.

I suggested that any Township consideration of land purchases between the cemetery and the punp house take into account the desirability of preserving the land around the Eliza dam for public access and use. I noted that the land up to the dam has reportedly been sold and that The Land Company has other buyers for the rest of their Eliza holdings. I encouraged the Board to investigate the opportunity for recreation or DNR grant assistance in funding necessary purchases or easements. Don Keith strongly supported this idea and said he had discussed with Land Company representatives the idea of putting a temporary hold on additional sales until the Township could consider how it might preserve these properties.

(Editorial Note. I feel this is slipping away from us. There is suddenly just too much money, probably a result of an inflated stock market, pursuing these properties... and Champion International, trying hard to survive in a highly competive international industry, is anxious to sell off it's non-productive assets. We (Township) would need to act quickly to forestall the complete privatization of Lake Eliza and its environs. I doubt if the Township has either the will or the means to take the necessary agressive actions. It's too bad! I hope I'm wrong.)

Keweenaw Youth Academy.

Jim Boggio repoted that he and Virgina Jamison from Gratiot Lake had visited the Academy and met with staff and the "clients". He said they were both very impressed with the operation, its managers and the young men. Jim said he hoped to secure an Academy work crew to help clean the beach this summer. The Academy and the fire departments from Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor are discussing how that might better work together. Several people observed that young men from the Academy had been of great assistance at the Easter meal events for the poor and elderly. There are now about 80 "clients" at the Academy and the number is expected to increase to 90 shortly.

School House Restoration

Jim advised that Harbor summer resident John Dawson, retired historic preservation architect of The White House, was assisting in developing plans for the restoration of the Eagle Harbor Schoolhouse. Jim added that sufficient funds had been donated to begin work this summer. He suggested that additional funding might permit the entire project to be completed in time to dedicate the restored facility as the keystone of the Harbor's Year 2000 celebration. Dick Lantz chairs the Schoolhouse restoration project.

Fire Truck

Clerk John Clarkson announced that preparations were underway for the two required public hearings on the proposal to purchase a new fire truck and pay for it by the levy of a special assessment against all Township properties. A first class mailing hearing notice will be sent to all property owners for each hearing. The present plan is to conduct the first hearing in June, the second in July, with the Township Board making a decision in August. The Volunteer Fire Department and Clerk Clarkson are securing estimates on the fire truck cost.

Other Stuff

Upcoming Elections. In addition to the June 13th Special Millage Election, Clerk John reported that a State Primary Election would be held on Tuesday, August 4th (included on that ballot will be the remaining term of Peter Van Pelt's trustee position, to which Nancy Sherk has been temporarily appointed);and, the State/Federal General Election on Tuesday, November 3rd.
CemeterySexton Don Keith encouraged everyone to join in the annual cemetery clean-up from 9am to 11am on Saturday May 9th. He also announced that we were in dire need of a grave digger. The pay is $125 per grave.
Solid Waste Facility Closed Off Hours Jim reported that because of illegal dumping of construction materials in the compactor during off-hours, he had closed the facility for all hours except Saturday, 10am to noon. The Board will establish summer hours at its May meeting.

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