This section is very unofficial -- just observations of Your Editor.
Report On Highlights of March 8, 1999 Township Board Meeting.
Members Jim Boggio, John Clarkson, Jeane Olson and Don Keith were present. Treasurer Gerry Johnson and deputies Bruce Wagner and Ann Johnson were absent. Gerry and Ann were stuck in a snow storm in Mpls. and Bruce was at fire school. About nine local residents were also present.
The February 8th Meeting Minutes and February Treasurer's Report were approved.
$12,000 State Wellhead Protection Grant approved.Supervisor Jim Boggio announced that the Township had been notified that the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had approved a grant of $12,000 to the Township for wellhead protection. The funds will match an equal sum from the Township's Water System fund and be used to drill 2-3 water aquifer monitoring wells near the Township's water supply wells, and to complete the Township's long range Wellhead Protection Plan. Jim said the "Cassie" Carlton Wilson, daughter of Dorothy Carlton and the late Fritz Carlton, and a member of Governor Engler's state agency liaison team, had been very helpful in securing the grant.
1999-2000 Fund Budgets ApprovedWith little discussion the Board approved the April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2000 budgets for the Township's General, Water, Solid Waste, Volunteer Fire, Cemetery, and Liquor funds. The budgets had been prepared during a Board workshop on March 1st. A summary of the approved General Fund budget and totals for all budgets are contained in the Township News page.
Additional Water System Improvements Proposed.
Supervisor Boggio notified the Board that Township consulting engineer Dick Supina was recommending that the Township seek revenue bond funding for additional improvements to the Township water system. Dick's recommended first priority was the extension of the 8" main system along Pine Street from its present terminus at 6th Steet, to M-26. There is now and old 3" main along this road. He estimated the cost at $167,000 and said it would correct the low water pressure problems along M-26 from Front Street (the Shoreline) to the east end of the system near the Range Lights. Dick's recommended second priority was a new main along Center Street from the existing 8" main in 7th Street to Front Street (M-26). No estimate was presented for this phase.
Jim said the Township was consulting with its bond counsel to establish the water system's bonding capacity. The Water System Fund has accumulated about $90,000 in "construction" revenue ( the $200/year surcharge water users pay) and and excess operating revenue.
I noted that a significant part of the cost of main extensions was the blacktopping of the disturbed roadway as had been done along 7th Street. (The best condition local street in the Township.) I suggested that since the improved road was of significant benefit and value to the abutting property, perhaps a portion of the roadway improvement cost could be assessed against these properties, thus freeing up more of the water system's funds for badly needed watermain improvements. (The suggestion generated a few frowns but Jim assured that it will be "considered".)
Once the report from the bond counsel is received, the matter will be returned to the Board for additional review. A public hearing is likely.
School House (Community Center) Restoration. Supervisor Boggio reviewed with the Board a letter he proposed be mailed to many Township residents seeking their financial support for completing the School house restoration in time for the Year 2000, Third Millennium celebration. The letter seeks donations of any amount and notes that individuals or families donating $1,000 or more to the project would have their name added to a plaque to be installed on the premises. Donors of $100 would have the honor of having their children or grandchildren join in the ringing of the School House bell for the celebration. Jim noted that almost $10,000 had been donated to assist the Township with the work already done, and that he had recently been advised that a donation of the needed heating and cooling system, estimated to cost about $5,000, could be expected. He said the project had also just received a $1,000 "memorial" donation from another resident. The Board approved the letter. See Township News for further information about this exciting community project.
Recreation Plan Implementation Grant Pursued. Hearing Date Set.Jim read a letter now being sent by Lyle Petersen, Keweenaw County Board chair, on behlf of the County Board and Planning and Zoning Commission, to the State supporting the Township in its effort to secure grant funds to preserve the wooded areas near lakes Eliza and Round for recreation purposes. This is the area between the Cemetery and the old Copper Falls mine stamp sands. Petersen's letter indentifies the Township effort as the County's "number one 1999 County Recreation Plan implementation priority". (Although I recently noted that the County has already filed a grant application for acquistion of property and boat access at the mouth of the Tobacco River.)
Jim further reported that he was in contact with several potential granting agencies, again with the assistance of "Cassie" Carlton Wilson, and that he felt optimistic that some support, perhaps substantial, might be forthcoming. He said a formal grant application is being prepared. Such an application requires a public hearing. The Board was supportive of the effort and set a Recreation Grant Public Hearing for March 19th, at 4:00 P.M. at the Township Hall. Details of the grant application will be available at that time.
Volunteer Fire Millage Election SetState law requires that township voters periodically renew extra millage levied to support their Volunteer Fire Departments. The one mill Township voters previously approved expires this year and will need to be renewed. One mill generates about $15,000 in Township property tax revenue. The Board set a Volunteer Fire Tax Levy Renewal Election on Tuesday, July 27, 1999. The propsal will be to renew a one mill levy for three years.
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