2014 Meeting Minutes
January 14, 2014
Williamstown Township
Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
Call to Order
The Williamstown Township Board of Trustees convened at 7:00 p.m. at the Williamstown Township Hall located at 4990 Zimmer Rd., Williamston, Michigan.  Supervisor Martin called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda.  Supervisor Martin led the Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call
Present: Trustee Imhoff, Clerk Gaffner, Supervisor Martin, Treasurer Fielek, Trustee Hayes and Trustee Williams.
Absent:  Trustee Eyster
Public Comment
Trustee Williams introduced City Councilman Kent Hall and his wife, Sheryl.  Supervisor Martin closed Public Comment at 7:02.
Police Report
Chief Hall presented an overview of department activities for the quarter and presented calendars for residents that are provided as part of Homeland Security.  It was noted that the department did not see an increase of calls due to the storm outages.  The department did increase surveillance at the intersection of Zimmer and Grand River due to the recent improvements and light installation. There has been one accident at the intersection since installation.  There have been 8 home invasions in the last quarter with three vacant homes having copper stolen.  Suspect was apprehended for copper theft.  Increase of patrol hours was due to patrol request of the Zimmer/Grand River intersection.
Chief Hall is unaware of tickets being issued for unleashed dogs in the park and will confirm this with the Supervisor.
The department will be at the Gun Club for range practice.
There are currently two vacancies within the department and two officers are on leave.  One should be back on duty within the next few weeks.
Consent Agenda
Trustee Hayes moved the consent agenda consisting of:
Approve the Minutes of 12/11/2013 Township board meeting
Treasurer’s Report, December 2013
General Fund Accounts Payable paid, checks 20448-20467 for a total of $185,515.89
Payroll Checks paid 42542 through 42578 and EFT 221-225 for a total of $22,658.12
General Account Payable checks to approve 20468 through 20480 for a total of $5,433.89
Revenue and expenditure report 12/31/2013 
Pending Litigation
Seconded by Trustee Imhoff
Striping local roads
Supervisor Martin opened the discussion regarding the striping of roads.  The board had not made any decision regarding the contract.  Trustee Imhoff researched the renewal contracts with the County.  Of the four Townships’ with striping contracts that expired; Onondaga and Locke renewed, and Stockbridge signed a new contract.  Aurelius has not signed a contract and did not give a reason. Ingham County Road Committee representative, Bob Peterson, stated this was a shared expense with shared liability.
Discussion included:
·   Roads should be striped.  Some Board members feel the county should cover this cost.
·   Township attorney reviewed liability concerns as addressed in his confidential letter. 
·   Place back on the agenda for next month to allow time to review full information. 
·   Seven townships do not have an agreement with the County. 
·   County is responsible for striping the county primary roads. 
Budget 2014-15
Supervisor Martin opened discussion on the proposed budget.
Question on Communications Department.
Revenue:  license fee:  $22,500.  Payment arrives the end of March.
Building Inspections:  Should this be raised as activity as increased. 
Planning Fees:  $2500 activity and $6500 recommended: This is an estimate and is based on activity. New budget takes affect the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Clarification of consulting fees in the Clerk’s Dept. is for ballot testing. Bldg. dept. for Building and Grounds:  Health benefits for sexton.  Benefit’s come out of two different departments.
Planning Commission:  Consulting fees:  for expenses for review.
Clarification of general and restricted funds in Park Lands.
Postage will be reallocated within departments.
Next month call for public hearing.
Cemetery:  Considering raising fees to cover expenses.
Park Improvements
Parks Committee and officers have reviewed the proposed plans. Mark Steinberg from the parks committee presented the revised plan for the park improvements.  Current plans are within the approved budget and address the sustainability and reuse of materials desired by the Parks Committee.  Working with Steve Eyke of Lafollette Custom Homes, the restroom and pavilion are ADA compliant.  The fireplace and doors are shown but will not be part of the initial construction; however the foundation will be installed for the fireplace. Labor will be provided by volunteers.  Excited to have this asset as part of the Township and to showcase sustainability. 
Discussion and questions included:
·   Doors would allow for future classroom or shelter. Hurricane style doors would most likely be used.
·   Do not have the funds at this time for the construction of the fireplace.
·   Porous pavement for the walkway.  Great exposure for use by residents in other applications.
·   Center section of restrooms shows vinyl siding/cedar shake look.
·   Future lighting may be solar or wind in the pavilion.
·   Specific fundraising could take place for future improvements.
·   Post in the center of the pavilion is for the door application.
·   Suggest collapsible rings for securing tables.
Clerk Gaffner moved the Township Board approve the conceptual plan and site plan for the pavilion and restroom design for the township park.
Seconded by Treasurer Fielek
Motion approved.
Poverty Guidelines
Supervisor Martin reviewed with the Board the guidelines that have been use to set the Poverty Exemption.  The Township has been 50% higher than the federal guidelines.
Discussion included:
·   Lowering the exemption to a 30% or 40% increase over the Federal guidelines.
·   Consider leaving at the 2013 level which is approximately 45% over the Federal guidelines.
·   Consideration of what is considered income.
·   Average size of township family of 2.2. Income limit would be over $23,000.
·   Asset test was added to help curb misuse.
·   There were 5 exemptions for the 2013 year.
·   Board of review reviews the applications for poverty exemption.
·   The guidelines do not need to be the same for each family size.
Supervisor Martin reviewed the process from application to granting the exemption.
Property taxes can be waived in part or whole.  Special assessments cannot be waived.
These are guidelines for the Board of Review and the Board of Review makes the final decision. 
Clerk Gaffner moved continuation of the 2013 poverty guidelines for calendar year 2014.
Seconded by Trustee Williams.
Lowering the qualifications more than last year may do harm to some that are in need.
More qualify at the higher number than the lower number.
Guidelines need to be approved on a yearly basis. 
Feel the federal level is low for the Township.
Roll Call Vote.
Aye:  Trustee Imhoff, Treasurer Fielek, Supervisor Martin, Clerk Gaffner, Trustee Hayes, Trustee Williams.
Nay:  none
Departments & Committees
·   NIESA (Northeast Ingham Emergency Service Authority):  Trustee Hayes reported on the past meetings of the NIESA Board.  The Director position is still open. Concern over the qualifications, hours, and duties for a new director.  NIESA currently does not have funding for a director as a paid position.  The State rejected the class that was held for certification as approval of the class was not pre-approved by the State. NIESA is appealing.  Attendees lost certification.  NEISA hired an accountant for 3 years with pay increase of 3% each year.  Ambulance revenue was $56,000 over expected revenue with an average per call revenue of $375.00. Discussion included:
1.   Issues with EMT responses to calls.
2.   Township residents are not to pay for service.  Concern how this is handled if an outside service responds.
3.   Need to review original agreement to determine the ability of NIESA to charge residents for service.
4.   Revenues to NEISA are based on Taxable value.  Williamstown Township generates the most funding for NEISA of participating municipalities. 
5.   Concern regarding the service provided the Township and ability of NEISA to function within their budget. 
·   Treasurer and Supervisor to meet with DTE representative to address resident’s concerns over clearing of lines.
·   The Board asked Mr. Hall to address the Township regarding the recent Williamston City Council Meeting and the Council’s vote on the proposed Library site. Mr. Hall stated that Sue Graff and Jack Helder came to the Council to ask for the City’s support of the site owned by the foundation.  The City Council voted to say they would still consider the current site for the Library.  The Council is still waiting for information before determining what to do with the current Community Center. Jim DeForest is Mayor and Noah Bellinger is Mayor Pro-Tem.  The action of the Council will affect the  Township’s participation of a JBA(Joint Building Authority) for a new library without the use for the other community activities and the Senior Center.
·   A Vegetation Ordinance is being drafted for review and progress is being made on a Code Enforcement Ordinance.
·   Supervisor Martin attended MDARD (Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development) meeting regarding GAAMPS (Generally Accepted Agricultural & Management Practices) and has written to State Representatives and the Department regarding the ability of Township’s to restrict farm animals in certain districts.
·   Trustee Imhoff, Treasurer Fielek, Clerk Gaffner, Supervisor Martin and Planning Assistant Bloomquist are attending the MTA (Michigan Township Association) conference.
·   Recycle:  The current Township provider, Northwest, has sold to Granger. The Township will work with Granger on continued service.  Granger currently provides recycling services to the City of Williamston and collects recycling twice a month in single stream everything except glass.
·   Feb 27th class “Making Bullet Proof Decisions” presented by Gerald Fisher by the Township is recommended for Board members as well as the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.
·   Parks Committee is hosting a sledding party on January 25th from 2-4
Public Comment for agenda & non-agenda items
None.  Closed at 9:15
Clerk:  poverty guidelines.
Supervisor:  Budget
Clerk - striping
Trustee Hayes moved to adjourn.
Meeting adjourned at 9:16
Ernie Gaffner, Clerk