HARRISON – Visiting the December meeting of the Hayes Township Board was Clare County Road Commissioner Bill Simpson. He informed of a change in the CCRC’s regular meeting time, which will now be at 8 a.m. the first and third Tuesdays of the month.
Bronwyn Asplund also visited Hayes for her last meeting there as county commissioner. She informed of goings on at the recent Board of Commissioners meeting, including the changeover in prescription drug plan and physician visit copays, both of which will save a substantial amount of money [see BOC story in this issue]. She closed her report with remarks of appreciation to the township.
“Again, I want to thank you,” Asplund said. “I really enjoy being here and I’m going to miss you. I might come in just to sit-in in the back and see how you’re doing. I sure love you. Thank you.”
Meg Warner, senior accountant with Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants, presented the township’s 2021-2022 audit information which, as usual, showed the township in good financial stead.
In her Treasurer’s Report, Maye Tessner-Rood spoke of Rick Jones, Hayes Township supervisor, and herself meeting with Justin Cavanaugh, Harrison city manager/clerk, and Dan Dysinger, Grant Township supervisor, regarding how the City of Clare and Grant worked together on a water/sewer project. She spoke of Hayes Township’s desire to get a sewer study done, and possibilities for the township to work together with the City of Harrison, and described it as looking like it could be a win-win for both township and city. Her stated hope is that both will appoint committees that can work together to look at “alternatives, and ways to make it happen.”
Tessner-Rood also said the Planned Unit Development is moving forward, and that a purchase agreement is awaiting completion of a 90-day period for information verification.
Clerk Deb Hoyt said she serves on the election committee with Lori Mott, Clare County clerk/register of deeds, and that the recount in Hayes Township went well. She said Hayes was one of 607 jurisdictions across the state, and that the Hayes recount was part of a group of 16 townships, with 13 being able to be recounted and three which could not. She said the township’s two languishing 2022 FOIA requests which had been stalled due to the election recounts, could be released shortly. Hoyt also spoke of the 2020 election lawsuit, noting that a decision had been made the previous week on payment to Dominion, Facebook and to the Center for Civic Life and Technology. Hoyt said that, at that time, the township was still holding on to all its 2020 election information until assured it can be disposed of.
There also was brief discussion of the added expense which could fall to the townships as a result of new [only partially state funded] election parameters voted into the state’s constitution by Michiganders. That will include bearing the full cost for mailing out absent voter ballots – in addition to personnel costs to keep the polls open additional days. Hoyt said Hayes Township currently has more than 1,100 absentee voters registered.
Zoning Administrator Ken Hoyt reported issuing 13 permits in November [compared to nine in 2021] including: four pole barns; one sign; three camping permit; one canopy over a camper; two fence; one shed; one garage and one ADA-approved ramp to a house. Those permits generated $1,125.
He noted that 911 calls were up by seven in November, compared to last year. They included one CSC, and one Narcan administered. Also, car-deer accidents were up 12 over last year. Hoyt said there were 11 fire calls, but no structure fire. Other calls included a wood fire; electrical fire; three power lines down; a medical assist; one call dispatched and canceled; two accident assists with no injuries; one rubbish fire, and one good intent call.
Under Public Comment, visitor/part-time resident Jesse LaSorda brought a few questions for the board. One sought clarification regarding the timeliness in removing new trash containers back from the roadway/disallowance of the old homemade “critter box” trash bins. Jones spoke to the requirement of allowing only one container [new containers are larger] and one large item per week as speeding up the routes, something necessary because if drivers are delayed, their DOT hours get used up and then all routes get bumped a day.
“And then the people they missed on Monday, they can’t do until the Tuesday people are done,” Jones said. “This is supposed to speed everything up; we’ll see how it goes.”
Seeking clarity on the township’s new hours, LaSorda was told the hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with gym hours being 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
LaSorda also had four questions regarding blight: “How many total blight issues have been addressed to-date?” “What does the future look like?” “How are they handled: First come, first served once they come in?” and “Is it proactive or is it reactive?”
Jones, who also processes the blight complaints, explained that currently the process is complaint driven. He said blight complaints are down to one per week because people aren’t submitting them, adding that five had been received in the last month.
“Right now, they’re working on the backlog,” he said. “I think we have around 120 that have been turned in.”
Jones said the county department which enforces the Hayes Township blight ordinance issued 11-12 citations a month ago.
“We’ve had one go to court,” he said. “We have one going to court in January. Basically, the way it was working at the beginning, because there were so many, they were giving them 60 days to clean up. That time has gone down now to two weeks. Junk cars, they get about 10 days to address those.”
Jones said it is “reactive” because it is complaint driven, requiring filling out the complaint form, submission of photos. He said complaints now go to the enforcement officer as soon as they are received. He said if the enforcement officer notices issues when he is out and about, he puts a hang tag on the door notifying the resident is in violation of the blight ordinance.
Jones said that resident does not get a letter or get entered into the township’s system until a complaint form is filled out. He said that in the future, after all the big messes are cleaned up, he [and it would require board approval] would like to see the enforcement officer driving quadrants of the township, puts hang tags or write them up and enter them into the county system – then give the township a report of who is in violation.
LaSorda then specifically cited a locale which he referred to as “the poster child of blight” along with trailers which he said had probably been there since the Nixon Administration. He voiced his desire to be of assistance, but noted the difficulty in reporting a location when no addresses are posted. Jones offered assistance in determining addresses via the GIS, which also would reveal whether those specific locales had already been reported or if they could assist in filing of new complaints.
Deb Hoyt also pointed out that if any of those trailers were missing windows, doors or have a hole in the ceiling/roof, they qualify as dangerous structures.
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