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

September 2015

Banks Township Board Meeting

Monday, September 21, 2015

  1. The meeting was called to order at 6 P.M. by Supervisor Thomas Mann. Present were Supervisor Mann, Clerk Donna Heeres, Treasurer Katy Postmus, Trustee Tom Cooper and Trustee David Rasmussen. Also present: Andy Veenstra, Jarris Rubingh, Dave Heeres, Burt Thompson, Mark & Rita Hess. Jerry Rasmussen arrived at 6:23 PM. Bob Dutcher and Don Binns arrived at 6:44 PM. Steve Chellis arrived at 6:50 PM. Hugh Campbell arrived at 7:09 PM. Aaron Gaffney arrived at 7:29 PM. Supervisor Mann led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the Invocation.
  2. Public Comment: Burt Thompson addressed the Board with an update on the condition of Lakeshore Drive from his perspective. He plans to place a low clay content gravel on the road and mix with what is there to reduce the slime. He stated it will still be muddy when wet. North Dennis Road work is being done now; Lakeshore is next. Drainage is still an issue and he still has not done an estimate for that work. He stated that Marion Center Road will hopefully be repaired this fall. Awaiting patch repair on Rushton Road. Lengthy discussion about possibilities of removal of Afton Stone and replacement of gravel vs mix gravel with Afton Stone. Current plan is to mix with Afton Stone and monitor next spring and place a “few more inches” of gravel then if needed. Burt stated “the ACRC is committed to solve the issue with the slime.”
  3. Public Comment: Rita Hess stated that Lakeshore Drive used to be normal mud but after the placement of the Afton Stone, “we have nasty mud”. We have a drain in our ditch and it is plugged with clay. Mark Hess gave a presentation with his summary of work done on Lakeshore Drive. The road is 7” higher than it was when he moved in, people are not able to safely walk due to “water on ice” feel. He reported 3 falls on his property in the past 2 years that he attributes to the road conditions.
  4. Public Comment: Bob Dutcher asked if his letter that was emailed today was received by all. Affirmative. He re-stated that the property owners have been waiting on the ditching proposal costs since April. He stated Charlevoix’s end of the road was to be 22 ft, now 20 ft. Norwood Township is getting proposals. How long have we paid a road millage? 14 years? Any reason ditching and culverts can’t be done before the rainy season starts? He stated there was a misrepresentation of materials and questioned who is liable for wrong materials being used on this road?
  5. Public Comment: Don Binns stated that in April, the Chairman of the Road Commission Board asked Burt that repairs to this road go to the top of the list and nothing has happened. He stated that the first survey of property owners included mostly non-residents. The second survey showed majority wanted it paved.
  6. Public Comment: Steve Chellis stated we should try what Burt is suggesting to get rid of the slime.
  7. Board Response: Trustee Rasmussen questioned the poor cleanup following repairs at Marion Center/Eaton Road intersection with C-48. Burt will check on it; stated may have been done when ditches were cleaned last Friday. Treasurer Postmus stated she feels we should remove the Afton stone. Supervisor Mann responded to comments: Ten years ago, the majority of the property owners did not want to pave Lakeshore Drive. Now they have changed their minds. The Board recognizes the need for ditching and hard surfacing. Supervisor Mann stated a special assessment is a possibility to fund road improvements. He asked Burt to prepare cost estimates for ditching and paving at 14-16 ft. Also, to clarify, other roads within the township were not repaved, they were crack filled and chip sealed to extend their useful life.
  8. Public Comment: Aaron Gaffney, superintendent of Ellsworth Community School, addressed the Board regarding the bond issue that will appear on the November 3 ballot. He explained that lack of handicap accessibility is driving the improvements. The high school building has had 4 additions since 1940 and is at 5 different levels. The proposal, if adopted, will fund $3 Million of the $10 Million in needs at a cost of 2 mils for 30 years.
  9. Public Comment: Dave Heeres, District One County Commissioner, addressed the board stating his involvement spans many levels. It is tough to make decisions that affect all taxpayers. He encouraged consideration of a special assessment to fund this road.
  10. Public Comment: Hugh Campbell reported the Village Campground set a record of occupancy this year. He is hoping for a small convenience store to open in the Village soon. Paddle Antrim Festival was a “real success”. The Loan for the Village water project now is planned to close March 2016. The Village water fund has been borrowing from the general fund to fund water system repairs until the loan funds are available. The Crowd Funding was very successful with approximately $30,000 raised from over 90 contributors. Excess funds will go towards Phase II of the project. Gary Warner, contractor for removal of the building and ground work, was one of the largest contributors to the Crowd Funding. The drain field portion was moved to Phase I and engineered drawings are in the works. Costs for the drain field will need to be split with the township and village if the township hall septic system is connected to the field.
  11. Public Comment: Jarris Rubingh reported a possible ballot issue regarding prevailing wages. He shared photos of shoulders washed away from pavement in several locations. He announced that Congressman Benishek is retiring and that will leave a hole on the Agriculture Committee.
    Public Comment was closed at 8:15 PM. A 5 minute recess was taken.
  12. The meeting reconvened at 8:20 PM.
  13. Minutes: The minutes of the August 17, 2015, regular Board Meeting were presented. MOTION by Rasmussen, seconded by Cooper, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  14. Fire Department: Clerk gave Chief Groenink’s report that the Dept. had its first run to Norwood Township for a double fatality motor vehicle accident. The jaws of life were used to free the victims.
  15. Township Hall: Jerry reported there are three weddings booked already for 2016. One more this month. Ebenezer Christian School fundraiser that is normally held here in November will need to be held elsewhere due to construction. He reported a leak in the SW corner of the roof and the ceiling is sagging a bit. Trustee Rasmussen will inspect the area and report back. Building Committee: Original blue prints for the building have been located at the historical society. Start date week of October 5. Still awaiting info and quote for the lift. David Rasmussen presented a contract for the renovations. MOTION Cooper, seconded by Postmus, to approve the contract with CDS. Roll Call Vote: Cooper: yes; Mann: yes; Postmus: yes; Heeres: yes. Rasmussen: Abstain. Motion was declared CARRIED. Supervisor Mann reported he has communicated with Atlas Electric about LED bulbs for upstairs and Consumers Energy about the power pole that damaged our septic line. Consumers says no pole was there!
  16. The treasurer’s report of incomes and balances was given. General Fund Balance: $228,010.59 with $180,000 due from the Fire Fund; Fire Fund Balance: $75,124.78; Roads Fund Balance: $75,495.20; Vehicle Fund Balance: $90,091.78; Liquor Fund Balance: $2,342.10; Grand Total: $471,064.45.
  17. Bills represented by the attached list were presented for approval for payment. MOTION Postmus, seconded by Rasmussen, to pay the bills as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  18. Zoning Administrator: Andy Veenstra reported 4 permits were issued in the last month, one for a pole barn, one for a new home, one addition and one to connect two buildings. Andy reported that he has received two written complaints of violations. Two additional complaints were made during the meeting. Andy will follow-up on all of them.
  19. Planning Commission: Trustee Cooper reported on request in front of the PC for a heliport in a residential zone. He reported 6 people attended the public hearing on the proposed ordinance amendment. Comments were mostly regarding consistency for minimum water frontage in zones. The proposal has been sent to the ACPC for review. Cooper was complimentary of the presentation of Jessica Spencer, Planning Consultant, at the public hearing. The PC Chairman has not been able to connect with the property owner regarding complaints about a mining operation. Clerk shared a letter regarding rentals of large homes for short term rentals. Property owners have voiced concerns over the amount of traffic on narrow subdivision roads that occur with this type of rental. Forwarded to the Planning Commission for review. Also, letter from township attorney on sign ordinance review will be forwarded to the PC.
  20. Planning Together & Training Workshop: Supervisor Mann announced the workshop will be held on November 10 at 6 PM. On January 12, we will host a workshop with Ann Chastain and invite neighboring townships to join us.
  21. Ambulance Authority: Supervisor Mann reported that the Authority’s CPA has resigned for personal reasons. The search is on for a replacement. The lease agreement with the City of East Jordan continues to be developed. An increase in millage to cover vehicle replacement costs is being considered.
  22. Correspondence: Annual Report for Circuit Court was shared. MTA workshops schedule for November was shared. Sheriff’s report of 911 calls for August was shared.
  23. Planning Together Meeting: Set for November 10, 2015 at 6 PM. Supervisor Mann send out invites.
  24. Park Grant Application: Treasurer Postmus reported that our preliminary score is 180 of 230. Not a lot of room for improvement but she will work with Kevin of C2AE to increase the score as much as possible.
  25. Roads: Letter from Bob Dutcher regarding Lakeshore Drive was distributed. Letter from Bill Austin and the Road Committee was shared. Supervisor reported their recommendations include ditching and gravel on North Church Road; overlay on a section of Pleasant Hill Road; ditching and gravel on Slough Road. He will ask ACRC for a proposal for this work. Also, the Roads Committee recommends placing gravel on the shoulders of all paved roads as they are deteriorating due to washed out areas.
  26. Cemetery/Park Workers: Clerk Heeres reported Judy VanderArk has again stated her plans to retire after 30 years of service to Banks Township. Linda Ballentine and Darrell LaBeau would like to continue and Linda would like to apply for the crew chief position. The Board appreciates the dedication of these workers and would very much like Linda and Darrell to continue. One additional employee will be hired in the spring.
  27. Phragmites: Contract to treat Phragmites along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Banks Township was submitted by Clarke Aquatic Services for $2275. Plans are to treat this week. MOTION Heeres, seconded by Postmus, to approve the contract.
  28. Next meeting October 19 at 6 PM.
  29. The meeting was adjourned at 9:52 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Donna L. Heeres
Banks Township Clerk