CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — With a dying boiler system and a leaky roof, time is not on the side of the Crystal Community Center.
The building’s fate has been discussed frequently during recent Crystal Township Board meetings, with total estimates figured at a minimum of $300,000 to make necessary repairs to keep the structure in decent condition.
While no decisions have been made on the fate of the building, the Township Board took action Wednesday evening to take a small step toward restoring order and possibly raising some initial funds in the process.
A number of tenants currently use the facility for open gym nights, Zumba classes and Girl Scout troops; however, the fee system for rental space of rooms and gym time has always been loosely structured.
In a unanimous 4-0 vote, with Supervisor Chris Johnston absent, the board voted to solidify a rental agreement that will now be implemented with each current and potential tenant of the building.
The structure will include a rental rate of $25 for room rental at the building, with a cleaning deposit of $15. For the gymnasium, the hourly rental rate will be $10, unless the building’s kitchen, tables and chairs are also requested, in which the rate for gym space increases to $20 an hour.
“I think this is pretty clear and direct,” Treasurer Ted Padgett said.
The rates will go into effect on April 1.
Clerk Patty Baker-Marek will contact all current tenants of the building and have them sign the new rental agreement. Groups such as the local line dancing club and various exercise clubs and church groups have previously operated on a donation basis, but Baker-Marek said that system can no longer be adopted if the township is to treat everyone fairly.
“The MTA (Michigan Township Association) says that is not appropriate, you can’t not charge one group and then charge another group. You can’t pick and choose who to do donations with,” she said. “I think we needed to do something, instead of just (putting it off).”
Baker-Marek said the township’s attorney was shocked to learn that only one building tenant, EightCAP Inc. Head Start, has a signed lease with the township for use of the building.
“We have that to address that,” she said. “And the rates that they are charged.”
Baker-Marek said she would like board members to evaluate the current rental rates for permanent tenants and reach a decision on an official lease agreement system at next month’s meeting.
“I think we need to decide what we are going to do. Each of us needs to spend some time this month and truly look at this, instead of just saying ‘we are going to,’ and come back next month and really talk about it,” she said.
Baker-Marek said a standard lease agreement could be drafted by the township attorney to be used for room rental.
The Township Board also voted unanimously to hire a part-time Department of Public Works (DPW) employee. The decision came after a discussion of whether to hire a full-time employee instead, as there may be enough work for two full-time employees within the department.
Currently, DPW Director Roger Gooding has been working as the lone employee throughout the past several months. According to the DPW handbook, a full-time employee receives the benefit of vacation days if they work more than 1,500 hours annually, or approximately 29 hours a week.
In discussing a potential full-time worker, Trustee George Bahm said he would like to review the specific duties that would be required of the new employee.
“In order for me to feel justified in another full-time employee, I’d like to see it broken down into a plan,” he said. “I’d like to know what activities that employee would be doing, and the hours needed per week. In average, what is that person going to be doing to fill all 40 hours? I know Roger is always busy, but I don’t always know what he is doing. Before I’d feel comfortable with a full-time person, I’d like to see justification of what they are doing.”
Padgett said with the department’s work depending heavily on seasonal activities, it would be difficult to expect the same type of work to be done on a consistent basis.
With four applications already received for the advertised part-time position, the board decided to go ahead with interviewing those candidates and hire a new part-time employee.
The board said they would be willing to re-evaluate the position to determine if there is potential for upgrading to a 40-hour-per-week position.