Fire/Medical Rescue Millage Renewal on Aug. 8 Ballot ...

by David Gordon

Despite heavy spring rains, the township’s Wastewater Treatment Plant met the challenge. “It’s the worst rainfall in the 38 years I’ve been here, but we handled it” [LiveVideo] said WWTP Superintendent Dan Willis. He said no sewage went untreated.

Willis’ statement seems to contradict recent claims by some Trustees that a $3M retention basin was “needed” at the treatment plant to protect the environment. Skeptical residents claim the real motive for the retention basin is to help developers whose projects would link to the sewer system.

The Board approved putting on the Aug. 8 ballot the renewal of the Fire & Medical Rescue Millage that expired with the 2016 levy. Trustee Wayne Dockett voted no.

Dockett attacked Public Safety Director Bill Wagner saying “This guy spends money….can’t keep track of his money….he never stayed within his budget.[LiveVideo].

Chief Wagner explained that the fire/medical rescue budget is saddled with $100,000/year to pay off part of the debt on the public safety building’s $3.5M cost overruns incurred in 2003. The debt won’t be paid off until 2023.

Interest payments on the $3.5M are about $280,000/year, which is split between the budgets of fire/medical rescue, police and township general fund.

Chief Wagner said without approval of the five-year millage renewal, residents would be without fire or medical rescue services. The millage would raise about $600,000 annually.

The Board approved paying one-third of the $260k cost of replacing the Six Mile culvert known as the Catholic Church-Horseshoe Lake Drain, which is failing.

Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt explained that nearly all the land south of Bay City was uninhabitable in the early 1800s until a series of culverts were built to drain the land. [LiveVideo]  He explained that everyone in Northfield benefits from all the drains working property…even those outside of one’s special assessment drain district. (link to Pratt’s letter).

Dockett and Trustee Tawn Beliger voted no. They argued that only the residents in the Horseshoe Lake drain district should pay the cost. (link to list of residents on special assessment drain district.)

              In other news, the Board approved:

  • Spending $120,883 this year for dirt road maintenance of clearing drains, grading, dust control and some limestone resurfacing; an increase of $15k.
  • Spending $24,500 for Master Plan review this year.       Most of the effort will be spent to incorporate the waterfront park “North Village” and a new “overall strategic plan” for the entire downtown into the Master Plan.
  • Treasurer Zelenock’s plan to transfer township “cash savings” into higher-yielding and more secure bank accounts. [LiveVideo] Dockett voted no.
  • Hiring Randy Kendzorek as a paid, on-call firefighter at $9/hr.
  • Hiring Benchmark Outdoor Services as a part-time independent contractor for maintenance services. Dockett voted no.
  • Approved using the “North Village” property surrounding the Post Office for parking at the 4th of July festivities.      


Watch individual Agenda Items with our 5-9-2017 Northfield Township Board meeting LiveAgenda

Meeting Documents: