The Austin Township Board Meeting was called to order on January 12, 2010 at 7:31 p.m.  by Supervisor Kenneth Vredenburg at the Township Hall at 14132 Pierce Road, Stanwood, MI, 49346.

Present were Kenn Vredenburg, Carolyn Towsley, Elizabeth Carr, John Brockway, and John Conforte. There were seven guests present.

Public  Comment: Ray Steinke-There is a new Probate Court judge and a new animal control officer. The new chair for the County Commissioners is Kevin Courtney. The Census needs workers. The Census forms will be mailed the first of February. The county is financially stable as are most of the townships. Central dispatch will probably go for a maintenance millage. Elizabeth Carr and Carolyn Towsley- We would like to offer our thanks to Helen Burden and Elma Jean Covey for all their hard work. Our auditor, Doug Wahlburg, just finished reconciling and balancing our Quikbooks program back to 1998 and we zeroed every account perfectly. Thank you, Ladies, for all your hard conscientious work!

Moved by John Conforte, supported by John Brockway to approve the minutes with the correction that the vote on the Chippewa School  summer tax collection was a resolution and all board members voted in the affirmative. Motion carried.

fileThe General, Fire Dept, First Responder, and Cemetery Funds report was given.  All accounts are in good standing. The Liability and Equity portion of the Balance Sheet shows all the tax payments to be paid yet. When there are no taxes due that portion will not show up on the Balance Sheet.  Moved by John Conforte, supported by John Brockway to accept the report. Carried subject to audit.

Payment of the bills: Moved by John Brockway, supported by Carolyn Towsley to pay the bills. Motion carried.

Fire Department Report: We are waiting to hear back about the extra paperwork that was required for the ISO rating. As far as we know everything is in and correct. The Fire Department received a matching grant from the DNR for new pagers and water vests of $1805.00. The next Fire Board meeting will be Jan. 20th. Do you have anything for the agenda?-There may be cuts to their budget -15%. The townships revenue sharing has been cut 15-20%. Mecosta Township doesn’t have a millage for fire; they will be taking their share out of their general budget. Credit card-what do we need it for that we can’t buy locally and who will be responsible for it. If Carolyn gets the card she will have to sign and be responsible if anything goes wrong. We would prefer to buy locally. The Austin township board has split ideas on these two things.

Supervisor/Assessor Report: The  Board of Review will meet March 8, 2010 from 9-12 am and March 10, 2010 from 1-4 & 6-9 pm. We will schedule more days if necessary. There will be an Assessor’s class in Remus on February 13th. I would like to see us send our Board of Review to this training. Moved by Kenn Vredenburg, supported by John Brockway to send the Board of Review to the training class in Remus. Motion carried. We still need to find someone to clean the hall. The hall will need to be cleaned this Friday after the Red Cross leave. The hall is rented for Saturday.  Kenn  said he would come clean and Carolyn volunteered to help him.

Treasurer’s Report: The Big Rapids school district resolution on summer tax collection came in, but we don’t have anyone in Big Rapids.  I have not received a resolution from Morley-Stanwood yet.  If they don’t send one, they will be collecting their fall taxes. So far 45% of the winter taxes are paid.  50% of the money has come in with 6% more paid this year so far than in 2008. By January 15th we need to let the Equalization Dept know if we or they are going to print and mail the notices. Township-we want them to print and mail the statements.  John Milan from Xerox came and offered a new contract. To renew our current contract will cost us three dollars more. This includes the removal of the old machines and replaces them with a new one. The township decided that they needed more information about the price per page and we would like to know what the value is of the machine we have now and what the price would be to purchase it.

Clerk’s Report: As I mentioned earlier, Doug was here last week and balanced the checkbook part of the QuikBooks program back to 1998. We reconciled to zero on all our accounts! He had several suggestions to make our systems run smoother. The main suggestion is to change the way we pay the payroll taxes for the Cemetery. He had three suggestions: incorporate Julie’s wages and taxes into the township wages and taxes and have the cemetery reimburse the township, get the cemetery their own Federal ID#, or leave it the way it is. I would like to talk to Kandy’s Accounting and get her recommendations before we make a decision.  Twp: we need to look up Doug’s contract and see when it expires. The Census contact person has been replaced. They are very desperate for people to sign up to work the Census. I have contact numbers. We received notices for a couple of MTA seminars. One is for BOR which we already addressed. The other is about Contract writing and ZBA. Next month we will be working on the Budget. I have included a Budget vs. Actual in your packet for you to review. We received an introductory letter from another CPA firm. It will be filed for future reference. We also received a public notice from Charter about the change of their customer contact phone number.  MTA sent a letter informing us that they will no longer be endorsing fringe benefit programs-i.e. Burnham and Flowers. They have no problem with Burnham and Flowers and will continue their relationship with them, but the paperwork and reporting requirements for that practice is no longer practical and very expensive. The next Mecosta Township Association Meeting will be here at our township on April 26, 2010. The board discussed improvements that should be done by then. Kenn will get quotes on fixing the cupboards in the kitchen, the men’s bathroom sink, waxing the floor, and fixing the lights on the sign out front.

Internet: Verizon has signed a contract to put up a tower on Pierce Rd, but work will not commence until spring. Our inquiries into other forms of internet were too expensive or unavailable here. We contacted Wild Blue satellite internet and have been put on a waiting list. They offer a 3 year contract of $50.00 per month and approximately $200.00 set up fee for medium speed internet. Moved by Elizabeth Carr, supported by Carolyn Towsley to purchase 3 years of Wild Blue satellite internet at medium speed. To be noted that it will probably have to be paid for with an electric check. Motion carried.

Carolyn Towsley purchased a notebook computer to use at home on taxes and answering questions related to taxes. The computer was $348.78, with a two year service contract it came to $388.59. Moved by John Conforte, supported by John Brockway to reimburse Carolyn Towsley $388.59 for the purchase of the notebook computer.

There will be a Joint Township Board Meeting (Mecosta and Austin townships) on January 21, 2010 to review the Fire Department and Stanwood Cemetery. We will need to discuss the budget for the cemetery. There are extra expenses with the pump replacement and downed trees that will need to be addressed. The budget for the Cemetery is $4500.00 if we don’t sell any lots. We may need to look at increasing our shares to $2200.00-$2500.00. We have no joint roads with Mecosta Twp to discuss. We do need to discuss the revised boundary with Morton Twp with the First Responders. How is Morton doing? Have they dropped any calls? Also we need to discuss a new Fire Truck.

Salary changes: The Township has no salary changes for the 2010-2011 budget year.

We may have the opportunity to purchase 10-15 acres adjoining the old historical Olin Cemetery. Kenn will make inquiries. This would help with the easement issues to get to the cemetery. It was reported that there are quite a few trees down in the cemetery and fence repairs that need to be done.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:33 p.m.



Elizabeth G, Carr

Austin Township Clerk