THREE OAKS — After discussing the matter during their July 8 meeting, it appeared to be the consensus of Three Oaks Township Board members that they would ask voters to approve a public safety millage in the near future to fund fire and police services.
The discussion began after a review of the monthly fire report submitted by Fire Chief Dave Flick in which he enumerated a number of needs and requests, including the need for a new fire engine and a request that a plan to either expand the current fire station or formulate plans to build a new one be explored.
In his report Flick noted that the current fire station was built in the 1970s to accommodate the equipment the fire department had back then, but updated requirements for apparatus mean they do not have room to add another engine and currently have two vehicles squeezed into one bay.
He also reported that one engine that was 27 years old was recently out of service for a week due to mechanical problems, and gave thanks to the Chikaming Township Fire Department for being on automatic mutual aid while that piece of equipment was out of service.
Supervisor George Mangold said there was a need for new fire department equipment.
“The cost of a new fire truck is probably going to be around $500,000, and I also think we need to explore what the cost of constructing an addition to the current fire station would be, and what the cost of building a new public safety building that could accommodate the fire and police departments as well as the ambulance service,” Mangold commented.
An important revenue source for the township ended with the closing of the Forest Lawn Landfill.
Clerk Liz Zabel said that a public safety millage proposal was something that the township needed to get moving on if it was to appear on the August, 2020 ballot.
Mangold suggested that an advisory committee be formed to look at all the possibilities, and that some town hall meetings would be scheduled to get input from the public.
“I’ll get together with Dave Flick to discuss this matter, and hopefully we can start crunching some numbers,” Mangold said.
In the past one of the possible locations noted for a new public safety building was the 70-acre Enterprise Park property located at the southeast corner of US 12 and Schwark Road that has 980 ft. of frontage on the highway.
That acreage has been under a 425 Contract with the Village of Three Oaks since late 2015, and Mangold reported that he took part in a meeting pertaining to the Enterprise Park acreage at Village Hall on June 26.
Township attorney David Peterson also attended the meeting along with village officials as well as Jim Frye, the president of the Shoreline Development Company who has expressed interest in purchasing the property.
“The village Planning Commission has made a recommendation that the zoning designation remain Industrial and not Commercial, but the property across US 12 there is zoned for commercial use,” Mangold said. “The Village Council has never voted on this.”
Mangold commented that the property was previously known as an “Industrial Park,” but was later changed to what was felt was a more marketable “Enterprise Park.”
“There are still a number of issues we need to discuss and some things we need to work out, so another meeting on this matter has been scheduled for Thursday, July 25 at 9 a.m.,” he stated.
In other business, after reviewing materials submitted by Ed Carpenter, the township’s Zoning Administrator and Code Enforcement Officer, two motions received unanimous approval for him to take further actions initiated by code violations at the following properties: 16967 Three Oaks Road, and 18946 Avery Road.
Carpenter estimated it would take approximately $20,000 to bring the property on Three Oaks Road up to code.
Also on the agenda, there was also a unanimous vote of approval for Dan Versaw to fill the seat on the Planning Commission recently vacated by Don Jackson.
Trustee Chris Mitchell reported that a fundraising event to support the renovation project at the historic Spring Creek School building will take place in early October at the Allen Turner Farm.
Finally, Mangold expressed his pleasure that a new flagpole had finally been installed in front of Township Hall.
“’Old Glory’ was raised again here on the beautiful morning of the Fourth of July,” Mangold said. “It’s very nice to have a flag out there flying high again.”
Funding for the new flagpole and its installation were provided by an anonymous benefactor.