2011-04-14 / News

Markey pares down road projects

By Thomas Reznich

The Markey Township Board voted to defer a road project on this year’s list to stay within budget during its regular meeting at the township hall Monday night.

Supervisor Joanne Kortge made a motion to approve a road repair contract with the Roscommon County Road Commission with the exception of work planned for Timbers Drive, which she said would be given priority on next year’s repair list. The resolution, which was passed unanimously, keeps the cost of repairs under the $114,050 budgeted for this year.

Markey Township Fire Chief Mike Stearns reported that the fire department handled seven fires and 31 ambulance runs during the last month and that officers received training on CPR and wildfire suppression.

The board approved the appointment of Mike Crawford as a firefighter and approved a resolution for Stearns to spend up to $2,000 for turnout gear for the new officer. Crawford is a fully trained firefighter and EMT specialist, formerly of the Frenchtown Township Fire Department.

Also appointed were Nick Sergeant as captain, Justin Devins and Kelly Joe Van Y as lieutenants, Tess Cornell as interim lieutenant and Sandy Maples as secretary. The board also raised the amount of money Chief Stearns is authorized to spend in an emergency from $500 to $2,000.

Stearns asked the board to “reinstate Carl Geiger (to the fire department) with all back seniority and back pay.” Kortge said the board would contact their lawyer to draw up the necessary papers to do that.

In response to a request by Joyce Rapson, owner of the Country Peddler store, the board approved Sunday morning liquor sales. In accordance with a request received in a letter from Catholic Human Services, the board also designated May 2011 as Social Host Liability Awareness Month in an effort to highlight the liability incurred by adults who provide alcohol to minors as well as the toll that underage drinking exacts on youths aged 10 to 16.

Kortge said the board may also look into getting a new attorney to represent the township, replacing current attorney Scott Hess. Trustee Norm Fullmer said there have been some minor problems with the services provided by Hess, and the board was offered several suggestions for other lawyers that might be available to do the job.

The board opened three bids on lawn care for township properties during the meeting, and will decide what action they will take at a special meeting scheduled for April 20 at 1 p.m. at the Township Hall. Also on the special meeting agenda will be interviews of candidates for the job of maintenance man and adjustments to the fire department’s pay structure.

During a work session that preceded the regular meeting, the board heard from Michael Cool, C.P.A. of Baird, Cotter and Bishop, P.C., Cadillac, who tried to bring them up to speed on the effort to return over $1.3 million in sewer fund money to the residents who paid into the fund.

He explained that the money that is left in the fund comes from a repair and replacement charge that was tacked on to regular user fees. He said determining who should receive the refund money will be difficult in some cases.

Vickie Kalmbach of Houghton Lake Title, which had been working on title searches at the behest of the previous board before four members were successfully recalled in the November election, said that she has run into many properties where ownership issues are complicated. She said in one case, a single property had changed hands 23 times since 1980.

“There isn’t anything that can’t be handled,” said Kalmbach, “but it takes time.” She also told the board that her company would honor the quote it made for the title work to the former board.

“The board has spent some money (approximately $65,000 on the project thus far) and there are less unknowns than there were before,” said Cool, who added that there are still many questions to be answered in how the money can be returned to the homeowners and if the project is one the current board wishes to continue to pursue. “All of us should take some time and look at what Vickie has come up with and see if it’s worth doing,” said Cool.

Kortge thanked Cool and Kalmbach for coming to discuss the project with the board and said she hoped they could come to future meetings for further discussion on the project. The next regular meeting of the Markey Township Board will be held on May 9 at the Township Hall beginning at 7 p.m.

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