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

September 2019

Banks Township Board Meeting

Monday, September 23, 2019

  1. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Supervisor Thomas Mann. Present were Supervisor Mann, Clerk Donna Heeres, Treasurer Katy Postmus, Trustee David Rasmussen and Trustee Tom Cooper. Also present: Sheriff Dan Bean, Mark Groenink, Tina Sundelius, Julie Waterman, Cathy & Robert Russell, Erin Heeres, Candace Hoeksema, Brandie Sowash, Phil & Laura Edwards, Michelle Merrifield, Judy Bradtke, Wes Fogle. Supervisor Mann led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the Invocation. Hugh Campbell arrived at 6:30 P.M.
  2. Public Comment: Sheriff Dan Bean presented his recent newsletter and summary of 911 calls in August. (86 total, down from 107 in 2018.) Fourth of July activity on the sandbar was down this year but there is a sandbar forming at the north end of Torch Lake that is beginning to see increased gathering there. Also on Elk and Intermediate Lakes a sandbar is forming. The activities this year seemed to be more family oriented. He encouraged the Township to resend the Opt Out ordinance to the State as many have not been posted yet. All five Villages in the county have opted out on recreational marihuana businesses and facilities. He is down four road patrol officers, dispatch is almost fully staffed, has a new corrections officer and animal control is down one officer. The old school house on Old Dixie Highway was found open twice this summer and has a broken window. Once was discovered by a patrol officer and once by township employee. Sheriff will contact the owner to advise. Officer John Morris is spearheading an educational program for the schools on sex trafficking.
  3. Public Comment: There was none.
  4. Minutes: The minutes of the August 19 regular meeting were presented. MOTION was made by Mann, seconded by Postmus, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED. The minutes of the September 13 Special meeting were presented. MOTION was made by Mann, seconded by Rasmussen, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED. The minutes of the closed session held in conjunction with the September 13 Special Meeting were distributed to the Board members present at that meeting. After the members had an opportunity to review them, a MOTION was made by Rasmussen, seconded by Mann, to approve the closed session minutes as presented. Roll Call vote: Rasmussen: Yes; Mann: Yes; Postmus: Yes; Heeres: Yes. MOTION CARRIED. (Cooper was not present for the meeting.) The minutes of the closed session were sealed and labeled for safe keeping for one year and one day from today and then will be destroyed.
  5. Village Report: Hugh Campbell reported the grant funds for the community sanitary sewer system will be available in 2022. The Village has an option to purchase a parcel of property for the settling ponds. They have applied for additional grant funding for the property purchase. They have withdrawn their application for a Recreation Passport application due to too many obstacles. Now they are applying for funding through the Health Department. Wooden Shoe Campground is setting a record for revenue this year. The Pavilion/Gazebo for the Community Square has been ordered and will be assembled by the Building Trades Class at the High School. Stevens Contracting will do the cement work. The Village/DDA is working with Keith Stewart to remove the Shooks Market building as the roof has collapsed. They have applied for grants through NLEA and EGLE (formerly DEQ). The Ellsworth Market has closed.
  6. Fire Department: Chief Groenink reports business as usual.
  7. Township Hall: Clerk reports that Jerry Rasmussen has been doing a great job in preparing the grounds for winter.
  8. Treasurer’s Report: Grant funds have been received for the scrap tire collection held in May. Liquor License revenue sharing has been received. Report of incomes and balances was presented by the Treasurer. General Fund Balance: $311,683.80, with $60,000 due from the Fire Fund. Fire Fund Balance: $149,419.80. Liquor Fund: $2,086.63. Roads Fund: $103,456.37. Vehicle Fund: $76,311.15. Grand Total: $642,957.75. Bills represented by the attached list were reviewed for approval for payment. MOTION by Postmus, seconded by Cooper, to pay the bills as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  9. Zoning Administrator: No Report.
  10. Planning Commission Update: Trustee Cooper reported on last week’s meeting with many motocross enthusiasts & opponents present. The application for text amendment was distributed as the fee was paid early this month. The cargo container that was dilapidated has been removed by the owners after he was contacted by ZA. The updated Bylaws were approved. Adopted Master Plan copies were distributed. The October 8 meeting will be held at the Moms & Tots building due to a conflict with a hall rental. The PC heard comments from Shawn Worden, attorney for the applicants for text amendment regarding the motocross track and from Jeff Jocks, attorney for the neighbors to the track that are opposed. Bill Austin retired from the PC after serving 17 years and he was presented a plaque recognizing his many years of service.
  11. Ambulance Authority: Julie Waterman reported the new ambulance has been delivered. It has been financed with 48 monthly payments of approximately $2500 per month.
  12. Village DDA: Julie Waterman reported on two recent meetings of the DDA. Bylaws have been adopted as amended. Paddle Antrim festival had 180+ paddlers and set a record! The DDA had a tent at the registration event and passed out information. They plan to expand for next year. The DDA is focused on blight control and beautification issues. There are 3 Farmers Markets left for the season. Each market has been better than expected. With the closure of the Ellsworth Market, the DDA is exploring possibilities for a future store. Antrim Pitch Night is November 8: It is a funding opportunity for new businesses and includes those businesses that have started within the past two years. The Village Council approved the members and set terms.
  13. Breezeway: Still trying to secure funding for the new wayfinding signs. The Breezeway Cruises will be September 28, October 5 & 12.
  14. Correspondence: Letter dated Sept 23 from Laura Reid-Edwards stating opposition to the professional MX races planned for Drumlin Hills LLC based on the fact such races are in violation of the Ag Zone Ordinance requirements. Letter dated September 10 from Phil & Laura Edwards outlining reasons they are opposed to the MX racetrack on property adjacent to theirs. Letter dated August 29 from Tyler Bier and Anna Farrell in opposition to the MX racetrack. Letter dated September 3 from Kathy Luther stating “I am very distressed that the board would not consider an ordinance (STR), seeing the problem as simply a noise issue.” Letter from US District Court outlining class action for National Prescription Opiate Litigation. Presidential Primary scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Letter that was sent to property owners north of Banks Township Park requesting cooperation in diversion of their drain water from their artesian well to protect the park. Notices from EGLE of permit issued for an addition to an existing cabin on Antrim Lane and construction of an open pile dock on Ellsworth Lake, Nuffer’s Lane. Notice from Charter Communications of rate increases for equipment and services. Notice of committee vacancies for Antrim County. (Will post on website.) Antrim County Commissioners approved cost sharing with the Army Corps of Engineers for a hydrology study of the entire Chain of Lakes. Grant Funds are available through Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural development. Deadline for applications is October 29, 2019. Newsletters from Rep. Triston Cole were shared. Marion township is updating its community master plan and creating a new recreation plan at a meeting September 30. MI Dept of Treasury memo regarding implementation of new Uniform Chart of Accounts was shared.
  15. Roads Committee: Report received from August 28 meeting. Recommendations include 1) gravel Bennett Hill Road in conjunction with Central Lake Township. 2) Chip seal Church Road from Essex to Atwood Road. 3) Gravel Scott Road. Supervisor will get bids for this work from ACRC. Trustee Rasmussen suggested Church Road north of Atwood Road be paved for 15-20 feet to alleviate the washboard and ruts from motorists “pealing out” due to poor visibility at that intersection.
  16. US 31: MDOT has contacted the supervisor to inform of plans to resurface US 31 the entire length of Banks Township in 2020. They propose to re-line the section through Atwood for three lanes instead of four. Discussion was held. Board consensus is MDOT has better understanding of the issues and three lane option sounds feasible.
  17. Scrap Tire Grant: Application for funding for 2020 was submitted.
  18. Website Update: Four proposals are expected for our October meeting.
  19. Property/Liability Insurance: Clerk reports current policy will renew on March 1. Requests approval to solicit bids for the renewal. Board consensus to do so.
  20. Appointments: Supervisor Mann appoints Julie Waterman to the Planning Commission for a term to expire July 1, 2021, to replace Bill Austin who resigned. MOTION by Heeres, seconded by Postmus, to approve the appointment; MOTION CARRIED.
  21. Fire Department Contract: South Arm Township Contract for services beginning November 1, 2019, was reviewed. MOTION by Mann, seconded by Postmus, to offer the new contract to SA Twp for approval. MOTION CARRIED.
  22. Noise Ordinance: Draft noise ordinance was received from attorney. Will review in detail next meeting. The draft will be posted on the website for public review.
  23. Township Hall: Proposal for six additional tables & cart for the upstairs was received. Total cost is $3176.99, including shipping. MOTION by Postmus, seconded by Heeres, to purchase from Mity Lite, Inc. MOTION CARRIED.
  24. Cemetery Ordinance: Clerk presented draft cemetery ordinance and part of it was reviewed in detail with amendments made. More to be reviewed at next meeting.
  25. Board Comment: Trustee Rasmussen stated the lift at the township hall has been used for freight too much, even when renters have been specifically told not to use it. Discussed turning it on only when requested and consideration for an additional freight elevator to be installed at the north end of the building. No decisions were made.
  26. Next Meeting: October 21, 2019, at 6 PM. November meeting rescheduled for November 25 at 6 PM.
  27. Public Comment: Laura Reid-Edwards addressed the Board with her opposition to the MX racetrack that was built without permits next to her property on Church Road. She urged the Board to enforce the Zoning Ordinance and not allow this use on Agricultural property.
  28. Public Comment: Candace Hoeksema addressed the Board in support of the track stating it is a wonderful idea for the community. She urged the Board to get the approval process moving along.
  29. Board Comment: Supervisor Mann stated Attorney for the applicants has been open and offered to answer questions as they are presented.
  30. Board Comment: Clerk Heeres stated that the completed application was not received by the township until September 7. The timeline for the review process has just begun.
  31. Public Comment: Andrea Hoeksema addressed the Board in support of the track. She stated young people need things to do. The Township “needs a balance” between activities for young and old.
  32. The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Donna L. Heeres, Banks Township Clerk