6520 Center Street, PO Box 68
Ellsworth, Michigan 49729
Phone: 231-588-6126
Email: bankstownship@bankstownship.net

December 2015

Banks Township Board Meeting

Thursday, December 17, 2015

  1. The meeting was called to order at 6 P.M. by Supervisor Thomas Mann. The meeting was rescheduled from December 21 due to Christmas Holiday activities. Present were Supervisor Mann, Clerk Donna Heeres, Treasurer Katy Postmus, and Trustee Tom Cooper. Absent: Trustee David Rasmussen. Also present: Mark Groenink, Cody Randall, Patty Niepoth, Brad VanderArk, Scott Sowers, Andy Veenstra, Craig Hole and Scotty Kehoe. Supervisor Mann led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the Invocation.
  2. Public Comment: Patty Niepoth, Antrim County Register of Deeds, addressed the Board and spoke of a new information access program available to assessors 24/7. Property Owners can also sign up for a Property Fraud Alert system that would notify them if their name or property information was accessed through the county’s computer system look up.
  3. Public Comment: Scotty Kehoe and Craig Hole, representatives of DTE Energy addressed the Board with a proposal for a franchise agreement to provide natural gas services to the east side of Banks Township, including the Village of Ellsworth. The franchise agreement would allow DTE Energy to place facilities with in the right of way. If approved, DTE Energy will begin contacting property owners to evaluate if enough interest exists for them expansion to be cost effective. Hook up fees were discussed as a “surcharge” on monthly bills to cover the cost of the infrastructure. Typically, this is assessed for 10 years. If customers sign up after the surcharge has expired, they would have a much smaller hook up fee.
  4. Public Comment: Scott Sowers, trustee on Ellsworth Village Council, spoke in favor of bringing natural gas into the community. Mark Groenink, School Board member, spoke in favor of the franchise and that the Ellsworth Community School would save considerable dollars each year with natural gas vs propane. Brad VanderArk, employee of Ellsworth Community School, voiced the availability of natural gas would guide decisions for boiler installation at the school. He also stated there will be negatives as well as positives. A letter of support from Aaron Gaffney, superintendent of schools, was read. A letter of protest from Tim Underwood, manager of the Ellsworth Farmers Exchange, was read. He stated the availability of natural gas in the township and village would be detrimental to his business and could result in fewer jobs.
  5. Minutes: The minutes of the November 16, 2015, regular Board Meeting were presented. MOTION by Postmus, seconded by Cooper, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  6. Fire Dept.: Chief Groenink reported a new member, Dakota Cheesbro, has joined the department. She is currently completing her EMT training. She is also interested in Firefighter 1 training. The dept. needs a new air compressor for the station. He will present prices at the January meeting. Officers for the new year: Supervisor Mann appoints Mark Groenink as Fire Chief. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Postmus, CARRIED to approve the appointment for 2016. Chief Groenink announced his appointments for 2016: Assistant Chief: Tom VanStedum; Captains: Brian VanderArk and Jim Veenstra; EMS Coordinator: Cody Randall; Secretary/Treasurer: John Hastings. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Cooper, CARRIED to approve the appointments.
  7. Ambulance Authority Report: Cody Randall, reported on the JVEMS. The Authority Board has decided to request a millage increase to .75 mills for 6 years, probably in two requests for capital and operational expenses. Bill payment procedures have been questioned by South Arm Township Board. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Postmus, CARRIED to have Supervisor Mann send a letter of agreement with procedures outlined by South Arm Township to the JVEMS Authority Board. Banks
    Township agrees that Board approval is required prior to bills being paid, not just budget appropriations. Cody reported that a grant application will be submitted for a new LifePak that will transmit heart rhythms from the ambulance to the hospital.
  8. Planning/Zoning: Andy Veenstra reported one permit was issued this month to move a portable classroom building to a parcel on North Church Road. He reported that the PC Chair has spoken with a property owner who never applied for permits for his buildings as asked him to come into compliance with the ordinance. No application has yet been filed. Trustee Cooper report that the PC has discussed long term garage sales at the last meeting and has decided that no language change is needed regarding heliports. The Training workshop with Ann Chastain/MSU-E trainer, will be held Tuesday, January 12 from 6 to 8 PM.
  9. Township Hall Update: Report from contractor was read. Work is progressing, will need to order the handicap lift soon to be sure it is available when time to install. The 5000 lumens ceiling lights upstairs are extremely bright. Discussion/consensus to request a “warmer” light such as 3500 or 2700 lumens be installed. The 4 prong fixtures seem to give the desired distribution of light. Grant award received from Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation in the amount of $1000 towards the
    renovation project. Also, unsolicited donations of $100 and $50 from private donors have been received with a commitment of $100 from the Ellsworth Lioness Club. MOTION Mann, seconded by Postmus, CARRIED to approve the grant application to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for an amount up to $27,100 (the cost of the handicap lift). An application to Rotary Charities will be filed in late January.
  10. The treasurer’s report of incomes and balances was given. General Fund Balance: $173,318.20 with $180,000 due from the Fire Fund; Fire Fund Balance: $57,290.56; Roads Fund Balance: $47,650.29; Vehicle Fund Balance: $90,128.21; Liquor Fund Balance: $2,238.07; Grand Total: $370,625.33.
  11. Bills represented by the attached list were presented for approval for payment. MOTION by Postmus seconded by Cooper, to pay the bills as presented, voiding check number 8331. MOTION CARRIED.
  12. Cemetery/Park Report: Given by the Clerk from Judy VanderArk: All buildings were closed up on November 30 and the truck put away. She would like to get rid of excess equipment to make room in the buildings. She recommends we consider removal of the building at Antrim City Cemetery due to its poor condition and it is no longer needed for storage space. Judy agreed to make copies of the keys for the buildings to allow Trustee Rasmussen to access the buildings and make a recommendation to the board in the spring.
  13. Township Park: Rumors have not been confirmed yet on the award for the Recreation Passport grant.
  14. Correspondence: Letter from Charter Communications regarding price adjustments effective December 15. Sheriff’s report of 911 calls for November was shared. Notice of unclaimed property from Airgas was received and response filed by the clerk to be reimbursed $225 that apparently overpaid or something. Dividend check was received from the Accident Fund for $288.24. This represents a 6% dividend on our premium.
  15. Roads: Estimates for road repairs were received from ACRC. Slough Road repairs from C48 to Detour Road with shaping and placing 3” of processed gravel 26 ft wide is $22,691. Our share is $20,422. Pleasant Hill Road repairs to 1700 feet with overlay of 2 inches of Hot mix asphalt and shoulder gravel four feet wide on both sides is $34,084. Our share is $30,675. No action taken. Supervisor to contact ACRC to see if work on Premore Road has been done.
  16. Clean Up Day: Contract for services with Preferred Waste 2 was received. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Cooper, to accept the contract for $40 per compacted yard with no fuel surcharge and to hold the event at the Preferred Waste Building rather than the Community Park. MOTION CARRIED.
  17. DTE Energy: Discussion on the proposed franchise agreement with DTE Energy. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Postmus, to send to our legal counsel for review. MOTION CARRIED.
  18. Board of Review: Supervisor Mann appoints Jesse Anderson of Old Dixie Highway as alternate member on the Board of Review, term to expire January 1, 2017. Jesse will attend training in February. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Cooper, to approve this appointment. MOTION CARRIED.
  19. Meeting Dates: Meeting dates for 2016 were set: January 25, February 22 (includes Fire Budget Hearing), March 14 (budget prep meeting), March 21 (includes budget hearings), April 18, May 23, June 20, July 18, August 22, September 19, October 17, November 21, December 19.
  20. Next regular meeting is Monday, January 25 at 6 PM.
  21. The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Donna L. Heeres
Banks Township Clerk