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Report On Highlights of December 8, 1997 Township Board Meeting.

A sparse gathering of six joined Supervisor Jim Boggio, Clerk John Clarkson, Trustees Don Keith and Nancy Sherk, and Deputy Clerk Nancy Clarkson in the Township Hall for a brief and relatively uneventful meeting. Treasurer Gerry Johnson and Deputy Treasurer Ann Johnson were in Texas with their family.

November Meeting Minutes . Approved with a few minor corrections.

New Fire Truck ProposalBoggio read a letter the Board had received from the Volunteer Fire Department reviewing the actions the Department had taken in support of its proposal for a new fire truck and urging the Township Board to proceed promptly with its consideration of the matter. Jim noted that at its November meeting the Board had authorized the Clerk to solicit bid proposals for a truck, had confirmed its earlier decision to consider funding through special assessments, had tentatively scheduled the two required public hearins on the proposal for the coming spring, and had discussed the possibility of conducting an advisory ballot election in the early summer. Clerk John Clarkson reported that one bid proposal had been received and others were being sought.

Water System Improvements

Supervisor Jim reported that the Water Board (John Wakeman, chair) would be meeting immediately after the holidays to consider the possibility of Township borrowing to fund the next stage of improvements to the water system. The recommendation of the committee is expected in January.

Hiring of Township Maintenance Supervisor and Solid Waste Facility Manager.

Supervisor Boggio reviewed the Township's need to hire part-time personnel to carryout general maintenace projects for the Township and to operate the solid waste facility. He noted that the Township now found it necessary to hire contractors for maintenace projects, a time consuming and in his view, a more costly method of getting the work done. He presented draft job descriptions for the postions, noting that it might be possible to combine the positions. He estimated the hourly rate to be from $8 to $12, depending on the skill level required and applicant availability. He said he had received two applications for the maintenance position. The Board authorized Jim to proceed with the hiring.

Pine Grove Cemetery ExpansionSupervisor Boggio reported that he had met with Lake Superior Land Company to discuss the Township's need for additional land for a future expansion of Pine Grove Cemetery. He said he had tentatively negotiated for the purchase of an additional fifty feet in depth along the entire 500 foot wide north boundary at a price of $5,000. Expansion of the cemetery along its east and west sides was not feasible due to topography and water table levels. Don Keith, who also serves as cemetery sexton, reported that several burial sites had been purchased in the recently opened 100 foot exansion along the north (back) side of the cemetery. He strongly supported the need for additional land. He said there were sufficient funds in the Cemetery Fund to pay for the recommended acquisition. The Board authorized the purchase. Jim 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 also reported that Lake Superior Land had buyers for some of the lots along Eliza Creek between Fifth and Sixth Streets and between the Catholic Church and Helen Knight's home. He noted that South Street was platted but not opened through this area and that if its right-of-way were vacated by the County, it would be split between the adjacent lots, making them even more buildable. He added that the land was "park-like" in character and has been used and enjoyed by township residents for many years. He said that County Health Department permits and variances granted in recent years strongly suggested that building permits would be issued for these lots.

Jim said he had reviewed this matter with Lake Superior Land and the County Road Commission. He reported that he belived the Land Company would sell these lots to the Township for public open space and park purposes for $5,000 and that the Road Commission would contribute half the cost, and assist the Township in establishing a park on the site. Jim advised that the approved Township budget had sufficient funds to pay for the Township's share of the cost. Board members were sympathetic to the suggestion and authorized Jim to continue with negotiatons with the Land Company and Road Commission.

A resident of Gratiot Lake expressed support for the proposal but noted that it was just one more instance of the Township's emphasis on projects that benefited just the "village" section of the Township. I encouraged the Board to take a more comprehensive and longer term look at the Township's need for public lands for recreation and natural resource protection so that individual acquisitions, such as the one proposed, fit into a plan that made sense and was feasible for the entire Township. Jim agreed and noted that the Township was long overdue in preparing the comprehensive DNR approved township "recreation plan" required by DNR and other funding sources for financial assistance in recreation land acquisition and improvement.

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