Crystal Township Board undecided on DPW location

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 12:05 pm on Thursday, February 23, 2012

CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Jerry Stone has made two motions in as many months that a new Department of Public Works (DPW) not be located in the Crystal Community Center.
Both motions died for lack of support by Stone’s fellow Crystal Township Board members.
Stone is hoping the third time will be the charm.
At the Jan. 11 meeting, board members unanimously voted to relocate Head Start to the Crystal Community Center (formerly the Crystal Township School). At that same meeting, Stone made a motion to eliminate the option of having the DPW garage relocated to the Community Center as well. The motion died due to a lack of support.
At the Feb. 8 meeting, Stone made his motion again, with the same result. After the motion died, he asked that it be put on the agenda again for March’s meeting.
“I will never vote to put the DPW in this building,” Stone said. “I have concerns about storage of liquids, I have concerns about fumes, I have concerns about whether the fire marshal would approve it. I think we need to make the decision and get on with it. I’ve heard a lot of feedback from the public and people are mostly against it.
“I was disappointed that no one seconded the motion and therefore there was no action on the motion,” he said. “I’m hopeful that at that the March meeting the motion will pass.”
Supervisor Charlie Braman said the timing just wasn’t right for Stone’s motion.
Clerk Bob Naumann believes putting the DPW in the Community Center would be a financially wise decision.
“The township really needs to watch its checkbook over the last couple years,” Naumann said. “We had to increase expenses in the DPW, labor-wise, and we really can’t afford to build anything. We’ve got this building that would provide a space.
“I understand people’s concerns,” Naumann added. “We had a tragic accident here in the township (when Sewer Administrator Dan Eller was killed in an explosion at the wastewater facility on April 23, 2010). But I think it’s way too early to eliminate that as a possibility. Greenville has their police department and fire department in the same building, so it’s not like a crazy idea.”
Trustee Curt McCracken said he agrees with Stone that the DPW shouldn’t be located in the Community Center due to Head Start being in the same building.
“If something happens down the road, like Head Start doesn’t stay there or we don’t get the other rooms rented out, I guess I don’t see a problem there,” McCracken said. “But after the deal out there at the sewer plant, I think it’s just a safety issue.”
The next regular Crystal Township Board meeting is 7 p.m. March 14.


In other matters …

At the Feb. 8 meeting, the Crystal Township Board also:
• Approved the agenda as presented with the addition of collecting a late fee for winter taxes.
• Heard a review of a new 30-year gas franchise agreement from Yolanda Lewis of Consumers Energy.
• Approved the minutes of the Jan. 11 meeting.
• Approved township bills as presented.
• Approved the treasurer’s report as presented.
• Approved the sewer bills for Crystal Lake and Duck Lake as presented.
• Approved accepting a jaws and rescue truck (a 1997 Chevy 3500) from Montcalm County.
• Heard a report on monthly correspondence and director Clerk Bob Naumann to complete a suggested letter supporting Michigan Rural Water.
• Appointed Chris Johnston, John Ryan and Bill Powell to the Board of Review.
• Heard township attorney Cliff Bloom is working on a new ordinance for 15A.
• Heard a report from Naumann that the attorney advised existing language on the Crystal Township Fire Department millage does not allow for construction expenses.
• Approved a resolution to transfer funds into the lighting district and increase the special assessment.
• Approved adopting a resolution establishing poverty guidelines.
• Approved adopting a resolution establishing alternate dates for the Board of Review in March, July and December.
• Approved appointing Phil Woodruff as chairman, Trisha Saylor as assistant chairwoman, Naumann, Diane Alexander, Roger Gooding Jr. and Judy Stockwell as election workers and Karen Braman and Kerin Naumann as receiving board members for the presidential primary election Feb. 28.
• Approved adopting a Consumers Energy Co. gas franchise ordinance.
• Approved not charging a late fee or interest for tax payments received between Feb. 14 and March 1.
• Agreed to discuss billing Carson City Public Library for utilities at the next township board meeting.

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