The Austin Township Board Meeting was called to order on October 13, 2009 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 Carr, John Brockway, and John Conforte. There were five guests present.

Public Comment: Commissioner Ray Steinke reported that everything was ok at the county and they would go through with the delinquent tax payments.  Mr. Steinke introduced candidate Jeremy Mishler. He will be running for the seat vacated by Darwin Booher’s term limit. Mr.  Booher will be running for the Senate.  Mr. Mishler grew up in this area. He has served on various boards in this area including the Board of Review.  He discussed the state’s need to have savings to reinvest and the creation of new jobs through the repeal  and phasing out of the Michigan business tax. He would also like to see an honest audit  of the state’s departments and services and see what really needs to be done and who needs to be doing it. Mr. Mishler  feels the state needs to be more responsible and efficient and make better use of technology to help them do it.

Moved by John Conforte, supported by Carolyn Towsley to accept the minutes. Motion carried.

Moved by John Conforte, supported by Carolyn Towsley to pay the Township, Cemetery, Fire Department, and First Responder’s bills. Motion carried.

The General, Fire, First Responder, and Cemetery Funds report was given. Independent Bank CD #32-90021045 is renewed at .06%. Chemical Bank CD 6422131729 was rolled over into the General Fund for roads. Moved by John Brockway, supported by John Conforte to accept the report. Motion carried subject to audit.

Fire Department Report: The ISO package has been mailed to Chicago. John Boyd will check on the status of the report at the end of the month. The Fire Department had to purchase an alternator for one of the trucks at a cost of approximately $1700.00. They did the labor themselves. They will have the old one rebuilt and kept as a spare. There were 80 at the Pancake Breakfast. The Pig Roast was last Saturday. The Fire Department did accept donations at the meal. Per their SOG’s the firemen are looking at setting up a ninety day probationary period. Those on probation would receive $8:00/hour instead of the usual $12.00/hour. Those coming into the department already trained would still be on probation for a certain length of time. The hope is that this will cut down on the number of people who find that they don’t want to be a fireman or first responder after all. It is expensive to train someone and then have them leave. The firemen themselves suggested this alteration not the officers. They will be checking with a labor expert to make sure this is legal.

Supervisor’s Report: The Cemetery Board meeting is this Thursday. The markers are ordered for the new section. Homeworks called about getting the internet here at the hall. I have passed 100 and 700 of the NIMS training. The water heater broke and flooded the west side of the building. ServiceMaster was called and were here within an hour. The only thing they have left to do is put the molding back. The price of replacing the water heater was  $520.00 and ServiceMaster’s bill was $2,320.37. Moved by John Brockway, supported by John Conforte to pay the repair and service costs subject to insurance response. Motion carried.  Our deductible is $100.00.

Treasurer’s Report: Taxes on 1500 parcels have been paid. Last year at this time 1505 had been paid. We are down 7% in total revenue from last year’s taxes. I would like to attend the Treasurer’s Retreat in Augusta on October 29-30. The cost is $395.00. Moved by John Conforte, supported by John Brockway for Carolyn to attend the Treasurer’s Retreat. The motion carried.

Clerk’s Report: I received a letter from Marcee Purcell, county clerk, stating that she has been receiving training to program the Optech Insight Tabulator and prepare ballot layout for elections. The Board of Commissioners approved a $200.00 per precinct programming fee for the 2010 elections. The cost to program the Automark is $39.00 per precinct, but at this time the precincts are not being asked to cover that fee. There is a Clerk’s Conference at Augusta on October 22-23. I am not sure that I can go because of scheduling issues, but I would like approval to go if it becomes possible. Moved by John Brockway, supported by Carolyn Towsley to allow the clerk Elizabeth Carr to spend $395.00 to go to the Clerk’s Retreat. Motion carried. We received a visit from the Xerox representative about renewing our contract with them for the copy/fax machine and to see if our needs have changed. He will be putting together a new contract for us. Our contract is up March of 2010. I received the next privacy statement and float income statement from John Hancock. If you are interested in seeing them they will be on file in my office. Dave Sperry from the Michigan Municipal League will be here Wednesday, October 21st at 11:30am to familiarize himself with our facility and meet Carolyn and I. You have a packet of forms in front of you. We are required to fill out an I-9 form now to verify our citizenship. It requires two pieces of identification. They are listed in your packet. I also included a new 2009 W-4 if anyone wants to change or update their information.  I attended the last two school board meetings. They have 1460 students enrolled. They were down 69 students on count day. Unfortunately they had only budgeted for 40 absences that day. They had well problems and had no water for a few days. The total cost of the repairs was around $9,000.00. They have tabled any discussion of building or expanding for now. Each school will be having meetings discussing ways in which they can save money and be more efficient. I still have a few checks to write for the third quarter withholdings. Kandy with Kandy’s Accounting needed to figure the withholdings to account for several errors that needed to be adjusted. The main checks to be written are for the Cemetery and the Township.

Roads: 180th should be completed. The cost appears to be running $115,000.00-$120,000.00. Hopefully Pierce Rd will be started next week. It appears that most of the funds should come in from the stimulus money so it appears they may not need our matching funds. We have been asked to request that the Amish stay off the road until it cures. Next month we need to discuss next year’s road projects.

FYI: Tulleymore is expanding and adding more condos. There has been no change on their appeal about their taxes on the golf course.

Dick Jensen will plow for us again this year, but he needs $5.00 more dollars per plowing for this year. Moved by John Brockway to increase Dick Jensen’s fee for plowing to $40.00 per push, supported by John Conforte. Motion carried.

The Schwartz’s will be moving in February. We will need to find someone else to clean the hall after they leave.

Flood Plain: I have talked to our local representative and there is a several step process to this. After I initially fill out the form I need to send it to him for review and revisions. When everything is corrected we will sign and send it in.

Public Comment: When brush is burnt at the Cemetery please make sure it will not damage any ornamental plantings, i.e.  the large blue spruce.

Meeting adjourned approximately 9:00 pm.


Elizabeth G. Carr

Austin Township Clerk