County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Hayes Meeting Convenes Al Fresco

Township Approaching Absent Voter Challenge Pro-Actively


HARRISON – Responding to the re-institution of the mandated maximum of 10 people at indoor meetings, the Hayes Township Board took it “to the street” – the parking lot, actually. The board has been working to be able to conduct meetings virtually but was not yet virtual-capable. Thus, those who attended the August general board meeting were rewarded with fresh air and a slight breeze as they sat under the Hayes Municipal Complex’s front entry canopy.

With no county commissioners present nor any real news of the library or county airport, actions moved on to approval of meeting minutes and the consent agenda. That was followed by department reports, beginning with Ken Hoyt’s information on building permits. Hoyt put some perspective on the numbers by comparing like timeframes in 2019 and 2020. He said that 25 zoning permits had been issued in July, which was up 14 over the previous year. As of Aug. 18, there had been 11, plus three on his desk that were finished, plus four to six more waiting. Hoyt said he expected August would finish out with a total of 20-25 permits.

“Lots of property is changing hands,” Hoyt said. “People are interested in buying to start businesses.”

He also described the sheriff department’s reported crime incidents in the township, relaying that crime was up 1.1% in July, specifically noting three criminal sexual conduct cases, five suicides. The following categories also had sizeable or concerning call numbers: 19 be on the lookout; 8 property damage; 19 intimidation/stalking; 18 non-aggravated assaults; 9 obstructing justice; 10 off road vehicle complaints; 23 suspicious persons; 8 trespass; 4 controlled substance violations; 2 weapons offense-other; and 2 weapons offense-explosives.

The fire department’s response report totaled 24 incidents, five of which were for medical assistance for EMS crews. The rest included several “good intent” calls; unauthorized burning; grass and brush fires; two outside storage fires; a rubbish fire; one building fire; five motor vehicle crashes with injuries; and one downed powerline.

Deb Hoyt, township clerk, reported on turnout for the August primary election, noting that 45% of the township’s registered voters turned out to vote. She contrasted that with a 24% turnout for the 2016 August primary.

“The 2016 presidential election was 64%, so expect….

She also noted there were 142 absent voter ballots in the previous primary and 543 absent voter ballots this time, adding that several voters registered on the day of the election.

“Lots of new voters were put through in August,” she said. “There’s lots of misinformation out there till regarding elections. The post office won’t be implementing changes until after the election.”

The clerk said the township receives calls daily, as well as answering questions for three or four people who stop in who all want to know more about absentee voting. Hoyt also note the Board of Elections/Michigan Secretary of State is requesting townships send out ballots sent out postage paid, and that the state would reimburse $1,400. However, with 60% of ballots being dropped off rather than mailed, Hoyt deemed prepaid postage a waste of money. She instead proposed establishing an absent voter board to count the ballots.

“I’m still waiting for the March reimbursements from the state,” she said.

Hoyt also spoke of the District 6 election recount which had been called for by Clare County Commissioner David Hoefling and was scheduled to be conducted Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. She also noted the Election Commission meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Oc.t 6 and the preliminary testing of election equipment to begin that day at 10:15 a.m. That testing is open to anyone who wants to come by and see how it all works.

Under New Business, the board moved to:

-Approve the 2020 L4029;

-Approve election inspector hazard pay;

-Approve the hiring o f a treasurer’s office assistant at $10.75, with a 50-cent raise after satisfactory completion of 90 days; and

-Approve the purchase of two ePollBook laptosps for approximately $1,500 to be used as Dual ePollBooks.

Under Public Comment, resident Frank Johnson rose to inquire about letters he had sent to the township addressing a problem with a board member. Supervisor Terry Acton acknowledged the letters were received and had been forwarded to the township’s legal counsel for advice on how to proceed.

Doug Jacobson of Gladwin, who said he has a cottage on Hillcrest in Harrison, spoke of his non-partisan candidacy for renewed service on the Mic Michigan College Board of Trustees. Another candidate, Frank Gadberry spoke of his run for the position of Hayes Township Board trustee.

After waiting until the meeting was formally adjourned, Acton asked for audience attention and made a brief announcement.

“Tonight was my 83rd board meeting,” he said. “And this is the first time no one brought up blight!”


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