St. James Town Board
On April 7, 2004, the Town Board held a brief meeting, with only
3 members attending and 4 in the audienceyet some interesting
information was revealed. All but one Township employee will receive
a 2% COLA raise, the one being the Harbormaster, whose workload
is anticipated to drop because tentative plans are to close the
dock around July 1st in order for construction to start. $13,000
has been pegged as the cost to operate the sewer system for a
year; use rates should cover the expense. As expected,
the new Zoning Ordinance was approved and will go into effect
7 days after publication in a newspaper. Another topic on the
list for immediate revisions: driveway width and turn-around capabilities
(for emergency vehicles.)
The event of the evening was a request by Liam Racine for approval
of his attempt to get a seasonal liquor license for the Stoney
Acre Grill. He assured the Board he and his wife Marilyn had no
intention to make it into a bar, that they only wanted to be able
to serve drinks with food, and that they might set aside one table,
at most, where people waiting to be seated could have a drink.
He said their dream has always been to have a little bistro, and
that in the future they may add a formal dining room upstairs.
Joe Moore, Stoney Acres neighbor, was there to say he and
Phyllis were not in favor of this. He pointed out that when the
restaurant opened it was supposed to provide a fence and a greenbelt.
The fence was built, but it fell down, and the greenery was never
installed. Liam promised to rebuild the fence immediately and
get to work on the greenbelt. The request was consequently approved.
Supervisor Don Vyse brought up three letters. The Road Commission
had proposed a county-wide millage to raise funds for roads, but
the townships had started squabbling and no agreement was reached.
(At present St. James levies 1 mill; 3 townships already levy
2 mills.) Prosecutor Mary Beth Kur had outlined the methods for
invoking the Freedom of Information Act and using it to obtain
data. And Joe Moore wrote to say that the EMS needed more moneya
matter that will be studied.
Peaine Town Board
The April 14, 2004, Township Meeting saw a resolution giving the
Township the authority for a bond for the East Side Fire Hall.
Although this will obligate the Township to payments over the
next 30 years, Trustee Paul Nelson said that in his past experience
bond issues were frequently paid off early.
The new Zoning Ordinance was approved for publication in a newspaper,
after which it will go into effect. Language for proposed millage
renewals this summer was approved, as was the annual budgetbut
only after Trustee Judy Lanier went on record as saying that she
wanted the Board to continue to search for ways to improve Beaver
Island roads and to expand the miles and applications of dust
control. Supervisor Works indicated that he planned to work with
the Township Engineer to investigate all of the Township's options
for improving the roads.
A letter was distributed in which an attorney for the residents
of Mike Boyle's Beach suggested Peaine Township orchestrate an
abandonment of the extension to the beach of the Mike Boyle's
Beach Road, in exchange for funds it could use to upgrade the
difficult access to Little Sand Bay. The Board was not receptive
to this, thinking that even if it were legal, it still might establish
a dangerous precedent.
EMS Chairman Joe Moore read his letter to the Board. He said
that the loss of so many paramedics in the past year or so had
put him in a situation where he was on call 24/7, and had to handle
all of the EMS's functions and obligations (such as arranging
for training.) To provide himself a break from the constant stress,
he was going to turn over his duties to Vice-chairman Jerry LaFreniere
on May 1st, help Jerry until June, and then leave the Island for
a month for a long-overdue vacation. In the discussion that followed
it was pointed out that the EMS and the Fire Department are supposed
to be regulated by the Emergency Services Authority, but no one
has yet been appointed to that two-man board.
The Planning Commission offered to work on a draft of a Nuisance
Ordinance for the Town Board's consideration. It would start with
the one enacted in St. James and make changes to reflect Peaine's
different issues. It will also look at the sample draft put together
by the Michigan Township Association.
Paul Nelson reported that at a Charlevoix Chapter of Township
Officials, many comments were made about the difficulties of the
Road Commission, which sounded familiar: They'll listen
to our grievances, but their response is always the same: We
don't have any money. Very little gas tax money gets
up here, it was said, because an overwhelming preponderance goes
to Oakland and Wayne Counties. The County Commissioners feel a
motel tax would be self-defeating, and a local gas tax raises
On a personal note Nelson said he was tired of having his mailbox
knocked down by the snowplow; he thought the plow went too fast,
and the goal of keeping 3 lanes open on the East Side Drive was
Treasurer Tina Morgan has been following the rules by obtaining
warrants to collect unpaid personal property taxes from three
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