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of Clare County

Still No Hayes Planning Commission Appointment

Township Discusses Brining Assessment Map Updates


HARRISON – The Feb. 13 Hayes Township General Board meeting began with approval of the agenda; approval of the Jan. 23 General Board minutes; and approval of bills to be paid.

Treasurer May Tessner-Rood informed that the DNR Spark grant had been finalized, and notification whether yea or nay should come by March 15. She said the grant application had been completed with only one hour and a few minutes to spare.

“It was a great team that the state provided us,” she said. “In our short time to get our stats and everything together, we did that on this end with their guidance and their push. And we met continually throughout the time – they were a great team to work with … kudos to them.”

Clerk Deb Hoyt reported that work on elections continued, and reminded of early voting at the County Building, and that absentee voters will no longer be able to spoil their ballot once it’s turned in to the clerk as of Friday, Feb. 16.

Under Community Reports, trustee Bob Buckley reported on a recent Cranberry Lake Board meeting. He said there will be a special meeting March. 27 to hear tree removal bids, with a public hearing date to be set thereafter.

Trustee Ernie Teall reported having received some bids on tree removal at the Municipal Complex and some trimming at the cemetery. Also, there is a bid for electrical work on the pole barn and that Consumers Energy paperwork needs to be filled out for that work. He said the bids must be reviewed and ensure that insurance is adequate, establish the timeline and get better budget numbers.

Under New Business, the Board moved to:

-Accept the Assessor Annual Report to the Board

-Approve the Ordinance Enforcement agency designated office clerk to move forward with contempt of court orders as provided by the township attorney

-Approve change in clerk office assistant position

-Reschedule the Feb. 27 Township Board meeting to Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.

Discussion Items included the Blight Coordinator job description, a Revised Ordinance Enforcement Protocol, as well as a Revised Zoning Administrator job description. Additionally, there was discussion of the township’s brine special assessment district. Supervisor Rick Jones noted the township would be going to three brinings because the road commission doesn’t want any brining in September. He also described the various properties that are being missed in the SAD, and the need to address partial assessments for those not fronting a gravel road [address on paved/also having gravel road access], assessments on paved roads and private roads. He said there are 151 parcels that are on the corner of a paved road and a gravel road. Other examples include properties that have changed ownership from public to private, with the non-taxable status not yet updated. Jones said he would have specific recommendations at the next meeting.  He also said the township needs to think about changing from “brining” to “dust control” in case the state limits what can be done for brining. Teall suggested investigating what other townships are doing about partial access, and all agreed that whatever is done has to be consistent and fair.

Hoyt explained that the required new SAD would include four resolutions, two public hearings and two mailings. Teall pointed out that with the cost of brine staying the same as last year, one less brining and more people paying their fair share, cost to the average homeowner would actually go down approximately 25%.

Tessner-Rood pointed out it might be a good time to get together one-on-one with surrounding townships to determine collectively what to do about brining of shared-border roads.

Another motion on the agenda related to appointing Pat Adams to the Planning Commission to fill the unexpired term ending Dec. 20, 2024. To enable that appointment, Adams proffered in writing his resignation from the Zoning Board of Appeals, effective Feb. 13, 2024. With the motion made and seconded, the motion was opened to discussion, at which time questions were raised by Teall regarding why there was no appointment or discussion of the first applicant who supplied an application – after which two others had been “thrown at the wall, but didn’t stick.” He said Adams’ application appeared to be the third.

When Jones said he had appointed Sherrie Bailey [for Board consideration] and that had been denied, Teall pointed out there had been another name on that same agenda that was passed over. Jones said that name shouldn’t have been on the agenda because he makes the appointments for consideration. He also noted that the person in question is married to a Planning Commission member.

Teall reminded that there are others within the township who have close ties to other people who are officials.

“In small townships you have the ability to appoint family and relation,” Teall said. “Just because there’s not a great selection out there.”

John Marion, planning commission chairperson, explained that the applicant had come to the Hayes Planning Commission to express her interest, and had been told to stop in at the township hall and fill out an application and letter of interest.

“I think it speaks volumes that she came to us and attended a meeting, and have a better understanding of what’s involved in it,” Marion said. “And I think we’ve kind of slighted a resident that showed interest by not offering any kind of a position to her.”

At that point, Jones said that item, as with many others – such as the Planning Commission report submitted that evening – was first seen by him on the agenda at the beginning of that meeting. He further said that he had not received a letter of interest or application from that individual.

“So that person is not my choice,” Jones said. “My choice has been nominated today. I asked for recommendations. I didn’t get one from anybody, so I picked somebody and that person was denied. So, I picked somebody again, and I’ll keep picking someone until I get my person.”

Marion said he would have to look into what happened, because he was informed that a letter of interest and application had been submitted. Teall said he had received it via email, and Hoyt said the application [which stated Planning Commission] had been submitted to all Board members.

Others on the Board said they, too, had received that application.

When the roll call vote was raised to appoint Pat Adams, the motion failed with three nays.

During final Public Comment, Adams spoke of his life, extensive military and employment history, his active involvement in the community, and took umbrage at being bounced around and disallowed the appointment in what he considered a vindictive action.

© Clare County Cleaver


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