News from the Townships
Peaine Township Annual Meeting 3-22-2003, 11:00 a.m.
Peaine Township held a well-attended (45 in the audience) two-part Annual Meeting on Saturday morning. The first part was to discuss and vote on the proposed budget, which contained a modest contingency fund of $3,297 to balance the projected expenses and income at $241,000. Supervisor John Works Jr. assured the audience that the Town Board is very concerned about taxes and has not proposed any expenditures it did not feel were necessary. After a scattering of brief questions (including one that could not be answered, about the Swamp Tax), the budget was unanimously passed.
At the Annual Meeting proper, which followed, the Supervisor gave his annual report in which he identified the Townships priorities: controlling growth; roads; safety; and recreation. He also announced that in the previous year there have been 13 new homes and 32 miscellaneous remodeling or other construction projects begun. Accomplishments included Jack Kellys recreation plan, the work done by the Trails Committee and its sister group, Friends of the Trails, the purchase of a tanker for the Fire Department and an ambulance for the EMS, the promising possibility of Island Airways relocating to the Township Airport, and the immanence of ground-breaking for the new mid-Island Fire Hall. He concluded by saying that the Board was doing its best to balance environmental and economic concerns.
The audience was given the opportunity to comment and vote on the proposed salary increases. The proposed amounts could not be adjustedonly approved or denied. After hearing from the audience how far short the raises fall as far as constituting adequate compensation, the Supervisors, Clerks, and Trustees raises were approved with only those directly affected saying nay. The Treasurers raise, the subject of some earlier heated comments both ways, passed handily, with what seemed to be 20 to 25% opposition.
After a reappointment of the Townships agents (attorney, engineer, bank, accountant), the floor was opened for general discussion. Most of those who spoke were drawn into a discussion of how to regulate snowmobiles and, more importantly, ATVs. At present ATVs are in use on Beaver Island, yet there are no designated trails; the only legal place for them is on their owners property.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Supervisor thanked everyone for coming, saying that the Township meetings are the only place left in America where grass-roots democracy is practiced and enjoyed.
St. James Township Annual Meeting 3-22-2003, 2:00 p.m.
The St. James Township Annual Meeting was technically two. In the first, the proposed budget calling for income and expenditures of $233,967 was unanimously approved. This total is in addition to a General Fund balance of $75,665, which will be transferred through to become a Public Improvement Fund.
Immediately following this the actual Annual Meeting was held with 14 in the audience. The minutes, the Boards salary increases (the Supervisor and Treasurer up $1,000 to $12,000; the Clerk up the same to $13,000; and the Trustees up $500 to $3,500) and the reappointments of the Townships agents were all unanimously approved.
The Supervisor delivered his annual report. He cited the Townships accomplishments in the past year: the nuisance ordinance was drafted, a five-year recreation plan finished (among other things, the existence of this plan allows the Township to apply for recreation grants), an Emergency Service Authority created, and a second part-time deputy obtained, with plans to make this position full-time.
Some projects are still pending, he continued. The Donegal Bay Bike Trail should get underway after the April 14th bid opening. An agreement is being worked out for Arranmore Park at the former generator site. The Yacht Dock upgrade is waiting for the complex permit process to yield results. The acquisition of the Whiskey Point Light Tower is moving forward; a $5,000 grant (requiring a $2,500 match) was received from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program for an engineering study. Beaver Island is working on its portion of the County Emergency Plan.
Some projects have been undertaken in conjunction with Peaine. A grant from the Department of Aeronautics to purchase the hangar (currently being leased, and used in part by the Fire Department and by the maintenance men) seems likely, although it will require a 20% match. A task force has been formed to study possible uses of the former Med Center building. A curfew ordinance and a parking ordinance were explored, as was a public boat ramp, for which it seems unlikely that funding will arise.
In the year to come, repairs must be made to the tennis courts, the North Shore Campground needs work, and the Planning Commission should finish its work on a Master Plan.
He mentioned the inequity caused by the two townships having a thirteen million dollar differential in their taxable value. He cited examples: homes worth $50,000 would pay $48 in taxes for the Fire Department in St. James but only $33 in Peaine. He hoped a formula could be arrived at to eliminate this inequality.
His biggest disappointment, he said, was that the conflict between BITA and BIBCo turned personal, which hindered the resolution that everyone wanted and knew was needed.
St. James, regular meeting of 3-5-2003:
Board approved the renewal Adoption Agreement for the Township Master Plan.
Board approved the Metropolitan Telecommunications Rights-of-way Oversight Authority (METRO Act Resolution), which is a right-of-way for telephone lines only.
Pete LoDico, representing the Beaver Island Housing Committee, presented a request to establish a Housing Authority to the Board. The Board agreed to explore the possibility of establishing one.
Board reviewed the proposed budget for 2003-2004. All Township employees are to receive a 1.5% pay increase. Also included in the budget are funds to work on the surface of the tennis court (cost to be split with several regular users of the court), work at the Township Campground, and work at the Gull Harbor nature trail. Also funds for the Township portion of the Donegal Bay Bike Path, which will be rebid this spring and hopefully completed in June.
A letter signed by both Township Supervisors invited the new Charlevoix County Commissioners to the Island for a meeting.
The Board approved the appointments of Rich Gillespie and Grace Matella to BITA for another month.
Peaine, regular meeting of 3-12-2003:
All members present. MOTION Works, second Nelson, to approve the 2-12-02 minutes as amended; motion approved (Martin opposed.)
MOTION Works, second Nelson, to approve the 2-19-02 Special Meeting minutes as amended; motion approved (Martin opposed.)
MOTION Works, second Nelson, to approve the payment of current bills; motion approved.
MOTION Works, second Lanier, to proceed with making the trail signs as requested by the Trails Committee; motion approved.
The proposed budget was reviewed.
Reports: Planning Commission. A summary of summer conversation groups has been completed. The biggest concerns among the 135 residents interviewed were environmental protection, roads, and recreation.
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