11 18 Chik Davidson Photo

River Valley High School students Nettie Donner (left) and Zach Sieler with Chikaming Fire Chief Mike Davidson during a mock accident demonstration held in the spring of 2018.

HARBERT — Longtime Fire Chief Mike Davidson announced his intention to retire during the Nov. 10 meeting of the Chikaming Township Board.

In his letter to the board members Davidson wrote: “In 2004 Chikaming Township appointed me Fire Chief of the newly consolidated fire department.

“I considered myself honored for the appointment. In 2008 my position was made full time, and I also was put in charge of the Medical First Responder program.

“My goals were to keep our firefighters trained, safe and well equipped with good equipment, and to work to the best of my ability with budgets for operations.

“During my career as chief I had the opportunity to work under seven supervisors. Through the years we have made the fire department well known and respected throughout the county. We set a standard of cooperation between the fire and police departments and continue to do so today.

“I believe that I have represented the township well. I became a seated member of the Berrien County E.O.C., Director of the county 9-1-1 Technical Committee, a seated member of the county 9-1-1 Advisory Committee, and the president of the Berrien County Fire Chiefs Association.

“With a very heavy heart, I think it is time to announce my intentions to retire from the Chikaming Township Fire Department effective March 31, 2022, which is the end of the fiscal year.”

Supervisor David Bunte said that he received the news with a heavy heart and great respect.

“I can’t thank you enough, but we’ll have five more months to be thankful for you,” Bunte commented. “There will be many more accolades to come.”

Board members echoed those sentiments, including Trustee Rich Sullivan who told Davidson, “My first intent was to deny your letter, but I too want to thank you for all that you’ve done for the community. You were able to bring three services together for the community. You are greatly appreciated.”

Davidson’s recommendation to the Board was to hire his successor by January 1, to help facilitate a smooth transition in the operation of the fire department.

A motion to accept his letter of retirement received unanimous approval.

That action was followed by an appreciative round of applause by all of those in attendance.

Also on Nov. 10, there was further discussion about the Library Services Contract the township has with the facilities in Three Oaks, New Buffalo and Bridgman that allow Chikaming Township residents to use their services.

The current three year contract calls for the township to fund each of those libraries $10,300 on an annual basis.

A point of contention has been a lack of information on how many Chikaming residents use the services of the Three Oaks Township and New Buffalo Township libraries each year.

“We’re not happy with them, and they’re not happy with us,” Bunte said. “I would like to see all the parties come together and sit down at a table.”

To that end he said that he would do his best to set up a meeting that would be attended by Sullivan, fellow Trustee Bill Marske and representatives from the libraries to help facilitate the drafting of a new Library Services contract that would be acceptable to all parties.

In other actions, after a discussion on the matter, a motion to increase Zoning Application fees from $500 to $1,000 to better reflect the costs incurred by the township was approved unanimously.

Another motion to retain the Blue Cross/Blue Shield healthcare coverage for township employees with a 3.1 percent cost increase also received unanimous support.

A motion to approve the township’s meetings and closings calendar for 2022 was approved, with a separate motion to add Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 17) as a paid holiday for township employees.

After reviewing a petition from residents of First Road, a motion to grant their request for a name change from First Road to Daisy Lane was approved unanimously.

It was noted that there were four roadways named “First” in the township.

Recyclers may want to note that it was announced Chikaming Township Center will be the site of a Household Hazardous Waste recycling event on June 8, from 3-8 p.m.

Finally, during the Discussion Topic portion of the agenda, Bunte urged everyone to access, review, and let their feelings be known about Michigan House Bill 4722 (H-11) pertaining to short-term rentals that has already passed in the House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate.

“I believe that short-term rentals degrade the quality of our communities.” Bunte commented. “People need to stay on top of this.”

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