The Austin Township Board Meeting was called to order on August 10, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. by Supervisor Kenneth Vredenburg at the Township Hall at 14132 Pierce Rd., Stanwood, MI, 49346.

Present were Kenneth Vredenburg, Carolyn Towsley, Elizabeth G. Carr, John Brockway, and John Conforte.

Public Comment: A group of concerned citizens expressed their fears about the proposed method of natural gas exploration and drilling, i.e. ‘fracturing’ through the insertion of a ‘cocktail’ of chemicals to force higher production.  Also of concern was the disposal of those chemicals. Information on possible environmental effects was given to the board. A washout on 170th Avenue was brought to the attention of the board.

Minutes: Corrections to the July 13, 2010 minutes: The minutes should read Doug Wohlberg instead of Kolhberg and Wild Blue Internet installation equipment was $199.00 instead of $100.00.  Moved by John Conforte, supported by John Brockway to approve the minutes. Motion carried.

Treasurer’s Report: The clerk and treasurer’s office balanced. Money for the First Responder truck has been deposited in the First Responder account from Austin Township, the Fire Department, and the First Responders. We have not received the check from Mecosta Township yet. Investment report: First Bank #8895 was renewed. The interest rate dropped from 4% to 1.74%. Chemical Bank #1448 was renewed for 18 months at 1.49%. The Independent Bank CD will expire in 4 months. First Bank # 3662 and #5533 will expire in 4 months. Chemical Bank Chemflex #1679 is renewed monthly. I am watching for the interest rate and place to renew. We are staying within FDIC limit of $250,000.00 in one bank.

Payment of the bills: Moved by Kenneth Vredenburg, supported by Carolyn Towsley to pay the bills: Township check #’s 7314-7341, Cemetery check #’s1399-1400,  Fire Dept. check #’s 4323-4336, and First Resp. check #’s 1152-1153. Motion carried.

Unfinished Business:

1.      Fire Department Report: The new First Responder truck has been delayed by manufacturing problems. We renewed with Western Insurance because we received no other offers. We were informed later that no other company covers both accident and health insurance. We received a poster from the Fire Department of pictures from the ISO testing. There was a $25.00 bill with the poster. Moved by Kenneth Vredenburg, supported by Carolyn Towsley to hold check # 7325 for $25.00 until contact is made with the Fire Department.

2.      Supervisor’s and Assessor’s Report: The Wild Blue internet is installed and the wireless signal is now working. It is password protected. Tulleymore is contesting their tax bill. The millage collection will be 1.2500. The Mecosta County Master Plan was updated, but not the section about zoning. We would like to see the residential/commercial section updated. Also there is no cemetery planning. The second brining is done. I have emailed the question about ‘fracking drilling’ to Ice Mountain for their opinion on its effect on well water.

3.      Treasurer’s Report: I have received one check of $125.17 from Charter for franchise fees. We will be checking on any former checks. Only 25% of the taxes have been paid. 11% of the money has been paid to date. Last year by this time 46%, with over half of the money in.

4.      Clerk’s Report: Elma Jean Covey will be retired as Deputy Clerk per her request and Cheryl Wensloff will be appointed in her position. The position of Deputy Clerk was clarified with the Clerk and the Board that the deputy will work beside the clerk in her office duties. This will particularly apply to election training. The deputy will also need to be trained in office duties and the functions of the clerk’s computer program. The board will evaluate her performance and confirm her willingness to remain in the job after the end of the calendar year. I have not signed us up for the Clear Rate Phone company yet. I would like to compare Frontier and Clear Rate and see the difference with Frontier’s unlimited long distance plan. The Primary Election on August 3rd went ok. We did end up with a discrepancy at the end of the day caused by a failure to click all the way through during the voter authorization process on the electronic poll book laptop. We were able to account for all but one vote. The county board of canvassers found that the electronic poll book had skipped one line. That made our count exactly right. I was pleased with how well everyone handled the new electronic poll book despite the discrepancy. The cost should be less for the November 3, 2010 General Election because we won’t have all the training and mileage costs now that everyone is recertified.

5.      Internet: Moved by Kenn Vredenburg, supported by Carolyn Towsley to set up a new savings account with Chemical Bank with an opening balance of $1,500.00 for the purpose of paying bills that must be automatically withdrawn from our bank account such as the Wild Blue Internet payment, the Quick Books renewal payment, and out tax liability payments. The purpose of this account is to prevent too much being withdrawn accidentally or intentionally from our General Fund Balance account. Motion carried.


New Business:


1.      Recycle: We haven’t received a dollar amount yet from Morton Township on expenses to partner with them on their recycle day.

2.      Exit Signs: Tabled until next month.

3.      Xerox: We have been unable to make contact with Xerox and get the new machine to print out the usage meter reading and send it to the company. We will be contacting John Milan our Xerox sales representative and asking for his assistance in straightening this out.

4.      Cemetery: With no revenue in lot sales this year, the cemetery budget is not sufficient to pay the bills. Supervisor Kenn Vredenburg has contacted Mecosta Township and suggests that Mecosta Township and Austin Township each move $500.00 into the Cemetery Budget. Moved by Kenn Vredenburg, supported by Carolyn Towsley to put $500.00 in the Cemetery Budget. Motion carried. Moved by Kenn Vredenburg, supported by Carolyn Towsley, to take the $500.00 out of 900-276 Capital Outlay-Cemetery. Motion carried.

5.      FYI: We will be adding the Township website address to our sign.


Adjourned at 9:30 p.m.




Elizabeth G. Carr

Austin Township Clerk