CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — After having not received payment since October 2012, members of the Crystal Township Board have decided to end a contract with God Team Ministries, which allowed the youth ministry service to rent rooms from the Crystal Township Community Center.
According to Crystal Township Supervisor Chris Johnston, the most recent payment received from Robert Hoag, who runs the youth ministry service, was in the amount of $600 last October.
Johnston said the most recent meeting with Hoag and members of the township board occurred in March, when Hoag was told he owed $1,500 and had until the end of June to catch up on the rent.
“We had a meeting with them in March and told them if they wanted to keep renting they had to get their rent caught up,” Johnston said. “At this point, we’ve received no rent as of yet.”
Three months later the total due has now reached $2,350.
“I received a phone call three weeks ago from Mr. Hoag’s wife and she said he would contact me the next day,” Johnston said. “I haven’t heard anything since. He hasn’t paid anything since October and there’s been a lot of promises that haven’t come true.”
According to Johnston, Hoag has been renting out three rooms at the community center for nearly two years.
The board voted 5-0 at Wednesday’s meeting to deactivate the keycard Hoag was given to enter the building, as well as send him a certified letter informing him all belongings need to be removed from the community center by Aug. 12.
No decision was made in regards to seeking payment from Hoag.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted 5-0 to add an additional recycling bin to the recycling site in the parking lot of the community center. According to Clerk Bob Naumann, the cost of an additional fifth bin on site will be $275 a month for a period of two months.
Board members said they are hoping to find a way to make Crystal Township residents more aware of the rules of what you can and can’t recycle, and how to deposit recyclable material, despite a sign near the bins that states instructions on both matters.
“Even though there are signs not to pile things on top of the bins, you see stuff piled up,” Naumann said. “There’s been times when it just really gets nasty.”
Naumann said he doesn’t believe the problem is going away anytime soon and that an extra bin on site is the best solution for now.
“At $275 per month, I think it’s worth having the extra bin for two months,” he said.
Board members discussed the option of hiring someone for one week to educate residents about proper disposal of recyclables, but declined to vote on the topic.
“I think a lot of people don’t take the time to read the sign and understand what actually can be recycled,” Naumann said. “People bring milk cartons in plastic bags, even though the sign states they need to be removed from the bag and be crushed.”
Naumann admitted even he had neglected to follow the sign’s instructions, placing Styrofoam egg cartons into the bins, which are not allowed.
“I looked at the sign more closely and saw that they were not allowed, so I don’t put them in there anymore,” he said. “It was a case of education for me.”
Board members debated whether to print flyers to spread throughout the community, but decided the effort would not be timely enough.
Naumann said he spoke with Montcalm County Resource Recovery Coordinator Jacob Rytlewski and was told the township was in no danger of reaching the 10 percent limit of non-recyclable items mixed with recyclable items.
During public comment, Montcalm County Commissioner Ron Braman said the county has noticed similar issues in other townships with lakes.
“This happens in about every township that has a lake,” Braman said. “Summer residents that don’t stay year-long aren’t familiar with the program and don’t have a place to put their junk.”
NEW DPW EMPLOYEE
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted 5-0 to award a part-time Crystal Township Department of Public Works (DPW) position to Larry DeVito of Crystal Township.
DeVito will be paid $8 per hour, and was the winning candidate among two others who also applied for the position, Randy Sterns and Bill Monroe.
Trustee Ted Padgett said all three candidates were well qualified for the position.
“We wouldn’t have been disappointed in hiring any of them, but after much discussion, we are going to recommend that we hire Mr. Devito to be the next part-time DPW worker,” Padgett said.
DeVito said he is ready and willing to perform the job.
“I look forward to serving the community,” DeVito said.
A second motion was introduced by Naumann to offer a contingent position to Sterns in the event another DPW employee were to be injured or on vacation, to fill in on occasion. The motion carried 5-0.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted 5-0 to award a bid to Fritz Electric in the amount of $17,850 to handle the electrical work of the new fire hall additional on Smith Street.
Fritz Electric was chosen over a bid from Brooks Electric which offered a bid of $21,908
The board voted 5-0 to allow the Crystal Township Fire Department to borrow $7,000 to be paid back at no interest from the township’s general fund in effort to construct the new fire hall. The decision was made after it was made aware that funds could not be borrowed from the special voted equipment millage, according to state law.
“The general fund does have sufficient money to cover it,” Naumann said.