The Austin Township Board Meeting was called to order on February 11, 2014 at 7:32 p.m. by Supervisor Kenneth Vredenburg at the Township Hall at 14132 Pierce Road, Stanwood, MI, 49346.

Present were: Kenneth Vredenburg, Elizabeth G. Carr, Carolyn Towsley, John Conforte, and John Brockway. There was one guest present.

Public Comment: Art Adelman, County Commissioner- the 911 surcharge, EMS, COA, and County Revenue will be up for renewal this coming election year. The County will also be partnering with the state to make new fly-over maps of the Mecosta County. The County’s share will be $13,000.00. This re-mapping is done at regular intervals and is available for economic development and assessing, etc. use. The County has one Planning Commission seat available. Applications must be submitted by February 24th. Newaygo County and Mecosta County are in the beginning stages of partnering in the creation of a biking and hiking trail in the Hardy Dam area and along the Muskegon River. The proposed length of the trail is approximately 40-50 miles. Most of the land proposed to be used is owned by Consumers Energy.

Minutes: Moved by Carolyn Towsley, supported by John Conforte to accept the minutes with the correction that sentence three of the Financial Report-“We are down 15% from last year.” be struck from the minutes as incorrect. Motion carried.

Treasurer’s Report: We received our Revenue Sharing and Swampland checks last month and are deposited, and we received revenue from the bank interests and hall rentals. Austin Township has deposited its share of the designated money for the LUCAS machine into the First Responder account. We have not received Mecosta Township’s share yet. Both the Township and Fire Department Balance Sheets have irregularities from the changing of banks. The Treasurer’s Report is accepted subject to audit.

Payment of the Bills: Moved by John Conforte, supported by John Brockway to pay Township check #’s 8152-8168 and Cemetery check # 1496 and to present for review Fire Department check #’s 4862-4875 and First Responder check #’s 1399-1418. Motion carried.

Unfinished Business:

1.       Fire Department and First Responder Report: Fire Board Chairman John Boyd received a call from the County that the County was going to raise funds for each First Responder Department to receive $10,000.00 towards the purchase of a LUCAS (automatic chest compression) machine. Each department would purchase the machine and present their receipt to the County for reimbursement. The cost of the LUCAS machine is $13,809.16. Purchase of the LUCAS machine was approved. The Chevy DNR truck has tires. The new flatbed is at the Fire Hall but needs to be installed yet. The truck should be in operating condition by spring. A presentation was made by Ken Lind from Lind & Lind Insurance. He will be submitting a bid to insure the Fire Department. There will be driving training soon for the firemen. The ladder training, the SCBA, and Rescue inspections are completed for 2013. The extrication, ventilation, and chainsaw equipment tested well. The Fire Department received a $2,000.00 donation check.    

2.       Assessor’s and Supervisor’s Report: We will lose some revenue with the implementation of the changes to the Real Property Tax laws next year. The changes in the law will cause deeper cuts to the revenue for the school and county.  We have had 35 lots in Canadian Lakes returned to Austin Township through foreclosure tax sale.

3.       Treasurer’s Report: The Mecosta County Township Association Meeting was February 3, 2014 at Aetna Township. Dog Officer, Deputy Josh Reed, and Callahan were present to answer questions and they did a demonstration of Callahan’s talents. Michael Rounds presented MI Spot wireless internet. They have two towers in Mecosta County. One in the southwest corner and one in the center of the county near Rodney. Each tower has a range of 7-91/2 miles. The Mecosta County Housing Rehabilitation Director spoke about the opportunities for Mecosta County residents to apply for help for their homes. Shila Kiander has sent the grant for the GIS program. The County Road Commission is using the Morley Garage this winter. They are 38% over in salt use. The State is 140% over in its salt use. Special thanks to Senator Emmons and Representative Potvin for attending the meeting. The next MCTA meeting will be April 22 at Austin Township Hall at 14132 Pierce Road, Stanwood, MI. The July meeting will be hosted by Big Rapids Township on July 28th. We will see if we can have a picnic.

4.       Clerk’s Report: Cheryl Wensloff is interested in serving on the Library Board. We sent out 35 absentee ballot applications. Sandy Maxwell from Colfax usually sends out about 12. About half of them have come back so far. The Morley Stanwood School Election is February 25th.

5.       Joint Township Meeting: Austin Township is fine with the Fire Department buying a large screen TV if they can get it out of their current budget. The township is not prepared to talk about the purchase of a new truck at this time.

6.       Road Commission: We will not be able to pave any roads this year. We will put new gravel down on 9 Mile Road whether the trees are cut along the side or not. We will take the free brine offered by the County, but not pay for a second brine.

7.       Township Hall: Bill Oleal will put in a bid for the repairs needed on the Township Hall.

8.       Budget: Check for any overages on the line items. Make sure the 224-807 Audit reflects this year’s audit expense.

Adjourned at 8:45 p.m.


Elizabeth G Carr

Austin Township Clerk