Listen to- July 8 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting
Listen to- May 13 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting
Listen to- April 23 2019 Special Board of Trustees Meeting
Parkluck to become a Hayes tradition of family, fun, and friendship!
The Parks and Recreation Committee of Hayes Township wants to start an annual tradition for friends and neighbors of the Township so that people will become familiar with the recreational options they have available at any of the 4 parks and 2 road ends that the Township maintains. The Committee also wants to create an annual event where the community can get together and enjoy some of each other’s good food and home-grown entertainment. Thus the idea of an annual “Parkluck” was born.
Due to the delay in opening Camp Sea Gull Park because of safety issues, the public is invited to gather at the Hayes Township Hall (one of the 4 parks) on Sunday afternoon, August 25, from 1-4 pm. There will be a bounce house set up for kids and musical entertainment for all ages. Cris Cunningham will do face painting.
The Parks and Rec Committee will welcome everyone at 1pm and familiarize folks through a running slide show with the Eastern Avenue Beach Park, the Bayside Park (in Bay Shore), Camp Sea Gull Park, and the Township Hall Park. The Township also maintains road ends at the end of Townline Road (Bay Shore) and Maple Grove Road End. The Committee hopes to share it’s dreams and goals for all the recreational opportunities in the Township with the public and answer any questions that come up.
Also at 1pm the Silent Auction to benefit landscape restoration at Camp Sea Gull will begin. There are 6 canoes, one with the Sea Gull name on it, available for bidding. There are also a number of benches from the arts and crafts building for sale, a metal bunk frame, and some used archery equipment along with other small items. The auction will close at 3pm.
At 2pm live music will begin. Charlie Witthoeft will join us at 3pm with his blues performance.
Food will be available throughout the afternoon. The Parks and Rec Committee will provide hotdogs, lemonade, and chips. Guests are asked to bring a dish to pass if they so desire.
Current members of the Parks and Rec Committee are Chair Michelle Biddick, Vice-chair Katy Hill, Secretary Tom Darnton, Lisa Kuebler, Leslie Cunningham, Paul Zardus, and Bob Jess. The Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm. Please check the Township website for the location. Members of the public are always welcome.
Planning Commission corrects zoning error
The Hayes Township Planning Commission held its regular meeting on July 16 at 7 pm in the Township Hall. Chair Roy Griffitts opened a scheduled public hearing on the rezoning of a 27 lot parcel of land bordering US 31 known as the North Charlevoix Shores Subdivision from Rural Residential to R-2 Single Family Residential. Zoning Administrator Larry Sullivan explained that there is a discrepancy between the Township’s zoning map and the text of the ordinance which applies to the parcel. The Township always intended for the land to be zoned R-2, and it was previous to the publication of the current zoning map. However since the Board of Trustees officially approved the new zoning map, it would now have to officially change the zoning back so that the map and the text of the ordinance reflect the same classification. The Commission voted unanimously to recommend the rezoning back to R-2. The Board of Trustees will have to approve the move and then the County Planning Commission will have to weigh in.
The second item of business was a request from Elliot Falls to amend his site plan for the property immediately to the east of the AmericInn Hotel. Mr. Falls wants to build 4 storage buildings on the same lot instead of the 3 he proposed previously. The Commission questioned Mr. Falls closely regarding safety and esthetic concerns. Mr. Falls assured the Commission that he would get an approval from the local Fire Marshall to allay any health and safety concerns. The Commissioners approved the amended plan pending an opinion from the local fire officials.
Members of the Planning Commission are Chair Roy Griffitts, Vice-Chair Marilyn Moorhead, Ed Bejos, Doug Kuebler, Cliff Biddick, and Matt Cunningham. The Commission’s next regular meeting is at 7 pm August 20, at the Hayes Township Hall.
Fiber for the Future
by Brandon Hill - Packing the final piece of furniture into the U-Haul on a 70-degree December day in Orlando eight years ago, my wife and I knew there would be plenty of things we’d miss as we relocated to Northern Michigan. We had no idea one of those things would be a stable connection to the internet.
This probably sounds like a “first-world” problem – a small price to pay for the beauty of life on the lake. But as a small business owner in an increasingly digital world, the lack of reliable and affordable internet options in our area quickly became an expensive problem.
And we weren’t alone. Neighbors struggled to stream a grandson’s baseball game. FaceTime with far-away relatives offered pictures that looked more like impressionist paintings than people. And all the while, we paid premium pricing for services that couldn’t find a path to profitability and often folded within a year.
Which is why I may have shed a tear when I learned that Great Lakes Energy was initiating a project to offer fiber-optic internet service to our area.
In the past few months, you’ve probably seen the Truestream trucks, the flaggers, the crew, and the lines. But I’ve seen a new future – one where it’s possible to work at the speed of business while still living life on the lake, a future where my parents can see their grandkids’ little moments in real-time. It’s a future that’s about more connectedness, not more consumption.
This is the kind of infrastructure improvement that makes our community, rich in its past and present, a place with a future filled with opportunity for families and businesses like ours.
When will the park open? 2019-2020 Budget Summary
On June 10 at the regular Hayes Board of Trustees meeting the Board approved a spending budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020 which began on July 1, 2019. It is the Board’s and the Sentinel’s goal to provide taxpayers and residents with as much information as possible so that you understand how the Township does business. Keep the Budget summary you find on pages 2 and 3 of this paper and refer to it often. The Board will revise it as necessary and should be able to justify its reasoning to you the taxpayer. (We will let you know when and if the Board makes changes so keep checking our Facebook page.)
There are two important things to note right off the bat. First, this is a projected income and expenditures budget. The treasurer can estimate how much in property taxes and other government income will come in per year. Property taxes are the Township’s source of operating income unless it applies for grants or millages for special projects. Secondly, this budget reflects a projected deficit of $89,131.68 as of June 30, 2020. How can the Board get away with a deficit? The answer is that it can’t unless it has some money left in the general fund.
The Treasurer reports that as of July 10, after the bills were paid the Township had $361,306.82 in the general fund. Here is where things get tricky. The state wants townships to keep a 6-month reserve in their accounts in case of an emergency situation that would require the township to operate without any money coming in. Say nobody paid their taxes, or we had a significant disaster of some kind. For Hayes, that amount is roughly $210,000. So if you subtract $210,000 from $361,306.82 you get $151,000 unrestricted funds left in the general fund as of July 10.
The Camp Sea Gull accounts (money set aside from grants and donations) are restricted in that they must be spent on building the boat launch and park. Those accounts have a total of about $56,000 left in them. The 10% retainage from the Phase I boat launch project is $154,000. The Board will have to put $98,000 of general funds with the $56,000 in the Camp Sea Gull fund to pay the retainage fees. So now we have $53,306.82 left in available funds (the road fund of $203,030. is always restricted and inviolate) and we have not yet addressed the additional funds needed to fix the safety issues and drainage issues, much less add a picnic table or a teatherball to the park. We have also had to absorb the cost of restoring electric service and water service to the host house when the lines were cut during construction. That cost alone ran close to $20,000.
I will take a wild guess toward how much it will take to get the park open. We have to find an additional $200,000 this year. Why? Because we have a minimum of between 600 and 700 feet of upper fencing to install to ensure the safety of those overlooking the excavated 35’ drop to the parking area of the launch. We have roughly the same amount of fencing to install on the lower level across the shale wall to protect both the wall and the people who will be down there. We are waiting to hear from Beckett and Raeder, an engineering consulting firm, about what we should do to stabilize the wall and how much it might cost.
There is also a safety ladder to install on the pier and launch. There is a railing to weld onto the west seawall to keep cars or trailers from going over the edge of the wall where the grade is too high. The skid dock needs repair and strengthening. There are barriers to install to keep people from walking along the shoreside seawall. Signs need to go up all over the park. All of this was not addressed by the previous Board who was hell-bent on building a $1.6 million boat launch for a small set of people.
The rain gardens do not function as promised by the engineer. There are two large rain gardens and one smaller one near the sidewalk in the asphalt parking area near the launch. They are supposed to provide natural filtration for impervious surface water pollutants during a rainstorm but the two large gardens are not retaining any significant run-off, and the smaller garden is overflowing most of the time when it rains. The overflow drain empties directly into Lake Charlevoix. Is this legal? I doubt it.
Additionally, there are 2 catch basins, one at the bottom of the hill which drains as a little stream directly over the bank and into the lake, and another catch basin near the bathrooms that drains into the first large rain garden. The engineer says he hit shale when digging the rain gardens so he had to put drains in the bottom of the large rain gardens. This change was made without the knowledge of the Board. Neither the Supervisor nor the Board can answer the question about where the water in the drains at the bottom of the rain gardens goes. Does it take the path of least resistance and go into the lake?
The Sentinel has observed and the Supervisor has filmed how the rainwater behaves on the pavement after it falls. Some goes out a drain at the top of the hill into the foundation area of the host house. Some drains into the septic field of the host house a little further down the hill. The catch basins catch some but a great deal of water goes helter skelter over the pedestrian sidewalk and into the lake from the parking lot. Supervisor Van Zee has said that most of the water does not go into the rain gardens.
It is hard to say how much it might cost to fix the drainage issues. Maybe the Board will get lucky and no funding agency will insist that the drains, parking lot, and rain gardens be fixed. Of course, there is still the ethical issue of draining directly and primarily into Lake Charlevoix.
When taxes start coming in we will get some relief but we are in dire financial straits presently. We are barely into this fiscal year. We also have no provisions for future park maintenance or landscape restoration. Thus far we have spent $1.6 million on a project that went from an estimate of between $400,000 and $500,000 originally, then to $900,000, and finally to where we are now and we are not done.
We are a long way away from the “family park and small boat launch/fishing pier” that the former Board majority, consisting of Hoadley, Kraft, and Golovich, promised the people of Hayes Township. The Board and the Parks and Recreation Committee are scouring the horizon for grants and funding to fix this park, most importantly to make it safe. We have projected that some grant income of $152,081.95 is still due, which may help keep our necks out of the financial noose. But for those who say, “Well here’s where we are. You have to move forward. Just open the park.”
I say, “Write a check or be patient.”
Make no mistake about who is responsible for this mess.
The disastrous aesthetic and financial legacy, created in haste with bad advice and carelessness, left by the three recalled former officials (Hoadley, Kraft, and Golovich), will take in my opinion years to rectify. Hopefully we can open the park sometime this fall. We’ve seen the math.
We will repair the damage; we will turn SeaGull into a pleasant family park, but it will not happen in a hurry, and it will only happen if the Hayes community works together. And that, Dear Friends, is how we move forward.
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