2018-03-08 / Front Page

Township/City to try moderator on fire compromise

Road funding discussed
By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles, center, happily introduced brand-new officers William Wheat (left) and Joshua Morgan (right) as the newest members of the law enforcement team last week. Family and friends attended the swearing in ceremony and loved ones pinned on their official first badges at the township board meeting. 
Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles, center, happily introduced brand-new officers William Wheat (left) and Joshua Morgan (right) as the newest members of the law enforcement team last week. Family and friends attended the swearing in ceremony and loved ones pinned on their official first badges at the township board meeting. Photo by Paula K. Schmidt GRAND BLANC TWP. – Police Chief Ronald Wiles was first up at the township board of trustees meeting last week, and said he had the honor of introducing his two latest recruits to the department, Officers William Wheat, a GBHS graduate who also served as an officer at Wayne State University and Joshua Morgan, a Clio native who was hired from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department.

They will start patrol duties after participating in a field training program according to Wiles. He added after intense searching, they found these two candidates “very much” rose to the top via the interview process.

In other news, Superintendent Dennis Liimatta reported city officials are requesting they meet with a moderator to attempt again to achieve some compromise in the disconnect over the proposed increase of the fire millage.

The meeting would include the city and township attorneys and Liimatta said it would be overseen by a moderator to discuss the millage ballot question. Additionally, the city suggested hiring an independent auditor to forecast revenues, expenditures and capital needs for the fire department; which seems to be the main point at which the two sides divide.

The township board attorney David Lattie has already drawn up proposed millage language which the township has based on their predictions of revenues, expenditures and capital needs. The board was asked to let the superintendent know if they were in favor of the meeting at that next board of trustees meeting March 6 at 7 p.m.

Liimatta also asked Genesee County Road Commission (GCRC) if they could possibly reimburse them for snow plowing expenses pending the recent passing of state legislation allocating an additional $175 million for road repairs, approximately $2.3 million for Genesee County; which the township would then put toward the Pollock Road project.

“They were disinclined to acquiesce to our request I’m afraid to tell you,” Liimatta said, adding that he understood they were trying to be fair and the township didn't start snow plowing with an eye toward being reimbursed as it was apparent the GCRC didn't have the resources to do it in a timely manner.

In addition, he said they would need to allocate more funds for snow plowing in the 2018 budget due to heavier than usual precipitation this year—more than 64 inches currently compared to last years’ 38 inches. It also fell during double-time holiday hours which increased the anticipated cost.

Eighty-thousand was budgeted based on a long-term average and has been more than enough, Liimatta said but $30,00 was spent in December alone. Additional salt was also purchased at a cost of $8,475, leaving only $20,000 left for the current snow season which includes next November and December.

Supervisor Scott Bennett said he has been trying to educate the public via social media that road repair is strictly the purview of the county, except for state roads, and that just because the township collects money for road repair doesn't mean they keep it; but pass it on to the state to be disbursed.

The Board also reviewed a Feb. 10 work session where they met to review future strategic planning for the township. They will be looking over the various initiatives and refining them with the help of subcommittees.

The trustees also heard a presentation from Jeff Wright, Director of Genesee County Water and Waste services on the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). They also asked questions and Wright explained the future of possible water service to agricultural services in the state to help increase KWA revenues.

The full meeting, including Wright’s presentation, can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAyMsmS0mXk.

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