Listen to- March 16 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting

 

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Board solves multiple problems at March 16 meeting

The Hayes Township Board of Trustees got right down to business at their regular March Board meeting. The first problem they tackled was the resignation of Clerk Warren Nugent. Nugent is moving downstate and his resignation was accepted with deep regret by the Board. Nugent wrote, “I have enjoyed my time working with you to help lead and restore the township. I feel very badly that I haven’t been able to fulfill my commitment to the end of my term. I have faith in all of you that all will be well in my absence. Best of luck to all of you in the future.”

Supervisor Ron VanZee said of Nugent, “He put things in order to make it easier for all the rest of us.” The other Board members present echoed Nugent’s commitment to transparency, his patience in explaining the way finances in the Township had been working, and the way they needed to change so all could understand what happens to taxpayer funds. Deputy Clerk Kristin Baranski emphasized that Nugent will be missed.

The Board of Trustees then unanimously elected Kristin Baranski to serve as Clerk until the November election. She has filed with the Charlevoix County Clerk’s office as a candidate and will be on the ballot as a Republican in the August primary.

mesh

Shown above is the sample photo of the kind of mesh barrier that is being proposed by Beckett and Raeder for the shale hillside along the back of the parking area at the boat launch. It has anchors which go deep into the hillside and can be made in a variety of colors.

The second major problem that the Board resolved was how to safely and esthetically fence off the shedding shale wall along the back of the launch parking area that has been dubbed “the cliff” by some local residents. Beckett and Raeder have recommended a steel mesh netting that can be installed to completely cover over the current hillside shale and all, and anchored deeply into the wall itself to keep people safe while using the boat launch or walking around the parking lot.

The mesh comes in black, green, or silver colors and can be matched to the gray slate if the Board so desires.  It will also withstand between 4000 and 5000 pounds of lateral pressure.

As authorized last month, Ron VanZee and Julie Collard have met with Beckett and Raeder and instructed them to go forward with the bidding process to complete this project as soon as possible so the Park can be open by Memorial Day. The Township has received the balance of the Waterways Commission grant of $48,681.95 so the Board will hopefully not have to dip into its reserve fund to pay for the wall depending on the actual construction cost.

The third issue before the Board that evening was the removal of 5 lakeside cabins due to unsafe, inadequate foundations and rotten wood throughout all of them. The Board arranged last month for the Charlevoix Township Fire Department to do a training burn and get rid of the cabins for the Township. Upon closer inspection, Fire Chief Dan Thorp said that it would be impossible for his department to burn the cabins without killing about 20 good trees as well. Chief Thorp was also concerned about water runoff going into the lake. The Board decided not to burn, because we have already lost so many trees on this project and losing 20 more is unacceptable.

The Board opted instead to try to organize a series of volunteer days, utilizing the equipment of both the Township and volunteers to take down the buildings one or two at a time over the summer and fall.  The Board noted that funds are short in the budget and the utilization of volunteers and their equipment would solve that problem. The Township is in the process of arranging for several clean up days currently and will publish the days as soon as it can. The Board is also looking at all other available options and will select the best for the Township and the Park.

The fourth question the Board discussed was when to advertise and fill the Zoning Administrator’s position, vacant since Larry Sullivan’s resignation in October. Ron VanZee has been filling in as interim zoning administrator since then. He reported that he would like to continue as the interim through the summer season because it will give him a much better idea of how much time the job actually takes. The Board agreed that VanZee’s recommendation was appropriate.  VanZee also needs some additional time to assess enforcement issues with non-compliant property owners. He said that thus far he has not had to do more than ask folks to cooperate because enforcement has everything to do with how one approaches the complaint.

The last problem, having to do with the non-functioning rain gardens at the launch site, is going to be tabled until the Township can attain a large enough grant to fix them.
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Why Hayes Board won’t do a training burn on these cabins

Cabins-3Cabins 4What seemed like an extraordinary idea, having Charlevoix Township burn these cabins in a training exercise, turned into a dud after careful thinking by Fire Chief Dan Thorp. Thorp estimated that the exercise would also kill at least 20 healthy trees. Others have counted 35-48 on both sides of the cabins and along the shoreline.

The Board of Trustees (1918 version) believes that they must do whatever they can to preserve the trees that are growing there now. There is a mix of fairly mature hardwood and some cedars as well as other evergreens.  The Board proposes to clear these dangerous cabins out with borrowed equipment and volunteer help over the course of this summer. Keep an eye out on the Sentinel Facebook page and the Township website to see if you can help. The Board is considering loading a couple of the cabins up in one piece to haul up the hill.

In a side note, notice how the sandy swimming area is totally underwater. The Board has a challenge on its hands as to creating a swimming area in this spot.

Photos by Frank Shepherd

Cabins 2

Cabins 1

From the Supervisor’s desk: A lifetime of change

Ron VanZee

Ron VanZee

I remember sitting with my grandfather when he was 98 years old, after he beat me in a game of pool, and talking about the many changes during his lifetime. The wars, diseases, famines, depression, the post wars, post diseases, post famines and the post depression – the invention of so many things to make our lives easier and faster.

Grandma and Grandpa were married 76 years before he sat down in his lazy boy recliner and went to sleep for the last time.  The one thing that never changed in all those years was his love for grandma.  She was his peach each and every day.

Now I’m getting considerably older and occasionally think about the changes in my lifetime.  I try not to think about it too often for obvious reasons like it makes me realize how old I am for starters. But it does remind me that I have been through and survived times of struggle personally, with my nation and with the world.

The year I was born, close to 35% of our population were farmers supplying themselves and the rest of the nation and much of the world with the food that so many think comes from the grocery store. Today, only 1% of our population supplies even better quality food to a larger population.

Even in my time growing up on the farm, we raised most of our own food. We had cows, pigs, chickens, a huge garden, that we unfortunately had to weed daily , as well as fruit trees.  I remember my mother (there were 9 of us) canning all day and well into the evening through the summer and fall to ensure we had food for the winter.

Although, I too, have become a lot more dependent on society. As I write this, I’m looking over our herb garden in the middle of our kitchen island. I know we will have a vegetable garden this summer to help with our daily needs. But will it be enough?

Covid-19 will change the way we think and live much the way all the experiences my grandparents went through changed the way they lived.  We live in the best country in the world.  We have the inner strength and resources to survive, and in the process, become a little less dependent and more independent.  It’s a good feeling.  We can use this time in semi-isolation to get away from our fast-paced world. Enjoy your family, your home, yourself.

We will also survive as a Township.  We are currently researching the authority and methods necessary to conduct our meetings and basic functions over the internet so that we can do business with less risk of viral exposure to all of us.  We will provide the same services and maybe learn along the way how we too, as a government unit, can be better. This is not a change we wanted, but we will look forward to a time when we can celebrate together what we have come through.

Our offices are closed, except for appointments, but we can be reached by phone, email, facetime, and soon you will be able to attend virtual meetings if I have my way. Stay warm and healthy.

From the Treasurer’s Desk: April 1, 2020

Julie Collard

Julie Collard

Thank you to everyone who voted in our March 10th election!  Our dedicated election workers labored tirelessly to make sure every vote was counted.  They did a great job and successfully completed every responsibility.

The Hayes Township Spring Clean-up is officially on the schedule!  Mark your calendars for June 20th. American Waste can take everything EXCEPT: hazardous waste, paint, liquids, electronics, tires, shingles, concrete, and bricks.  Any construction material must be cut into 3-foot lengths.

Millage Grant Hopes!  We are cautiously optimistic that both Hayes Township Millage Grant submissions to Charlevoix County will be approved!  The first grant will give us a playground area at the township hall park.  The second grant will help us create a green space and activity area at Hayes Township Camp Sea Gull.  Keep an eye out for the completion of these projects in the spring and early summer.

Our new webpage is almost ready!  We have been working with the web designers at Common Angle to create a webpage that is both visually pleasing and easy to navigate.  We are making sure to give our residents access to archives, documents, and officials as well as the most current information on elections, events, and all important information.  As soon as we have a date, we invite everyone to check it out!

We have moved our free pantry overflow donations to the front entrance of the hall.  Please feel free to stop in and take what you need or drop off a donation.  We are so proud to be teaming up with the Manna Food Project.  Their motto is ‘Feeding the hungry throughout the north’. We are here to help everyone in our community.  If you know someone who cannot get out to the pantry, we will deliver food to them. Just contact Julie or Kristin at (231)547-6961.

Julie Collard, Treasurer

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New clerk in town

Kristin Baranski

Kristin Baranski

Deputy Clerk Kristin Baranski was named Hayes Township Clerk at the March 10 Board of Trustees meeting, immediately after Clerk Warren Nugent’s letter of resignation was accepted by the BOT. Nugent resigned as he was moving out of the area.

Baranski has been working as deputy clerk for the past year and successfully ran the March 10 Presidential primary election without a major hitch, a stellar accomplishment for a novice.

The Township Board expressed gratitude to Nugent for his year and a half of service. The Board also is thankful to have Baranski’s talent and work ethic providing a seamless transition in the Clerk’s office. Baranski will serve until the November election when she will run for the Clerk’s position.

Baranski, 50, grew up spending summers on Lake Charlevoix. Winters were spent in Bloomfield Hills and Baranski recalls waiting anxiously for the last day of school so that she could come up north and stay until the first day of school down state. She remembers fondly riding her bike to the Horton Bay Store for pop and ice cream!

Baranski attended the University of Dayton where she majored in English. After raising two boys, she moved to Hayes Township permanently six years ago. She is looking forward to serving the people of the township.

Hayes presidential primary results

Hayes Township can hold its head up with the best of them when it comes to voter turnout in the 2020 presidential primary. Hayes has 1772 registered voters. 553 ballots were cast on Tuesday November 10, 2020. 31.21 percent of the Hayes pool of registered voters cast ballots. Charlevoix County’s rate of participation was also 31.21 percent.

For context, The Detroit Freepress reported that Michigan had a record turnout. “Close to 2.3 million Michigan residents cast ballots, or more than 29% of the 7.7 million registered voters, according to unofficial results.”

In Hayes Township of note: Joe Biden got 187 votes, Bernie Sanders got 113, and Donald Trump got 207. The remaining cast votes were in such small numbers as to be un-noteworthy.

Hayes Township voters participated at a rate higher than that of the state of Michigan at large! Lets do better in November!

April 2020 Virtual BOT Monthly Meeting

Several Hayes Township board members took part in a statewide conference call with both the Michigan Township Association and Miller/Canfield representatives regarding the current Virtual Meeting executive order from Governor Whitmer’s office.  Your officials are setting up the approved appropriate virtual meeting details.  As soon as the new system is online, details will be posted for all residents with instructions on how to participate in the April BOT virtual meeting.  Both phone and on-line options will be available for attendance and participation.  All documents being discussed will be shared in advance and during the meeting as well.

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Virtual township board meetings

Leslie Cunningham Observatin Deck
Kudos to our Board of Trustees again. Since the national Covid19 crisis hit us all right between the eyes and the powers that be put numerical restrictions on public gatherings, the Board has been actively working to make it possible for  anyone in the township with internet access to attend township meetings from the comfort and safety of one’s living room. At first the Board had reasonable questions of legality for government entities holding meetings. The excerpt below from the March 19, 2020 letter from Neil Sheridan, Executive Director of the Michigan Township Association to all Michigan Township Supervisors clears up the legal confusion.

“Last night, Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-15, temporarily changing the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to conduct their meetings electronically, while also facilitating public participation. Under the order, which currently lasts until April 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., township boards and commissions—including the township board, zoning board of appeals and planning commission—that are subject to the Open Meetings Act can use conference call or video conferencing to continue meeting and conducting business during the coronavirus crisis. Certain procedures must be followed to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public. We know that this technology is new for many townships, and are working to provide additional guidance and recommendations to townships on how to accomplish this. We have created an “MTA Guidelines for Conducting Meetings under Executive Order 2020-15 and the Open Meetings Act” and updated our “Township Considerations for COVID-19 Planning” document. Please note that townships may continue to hold in-person meetings, as long attendance does not exceed the current prohibition assemblages of 50 people in attendance.”

See you all on my disinfected big screen next time around!

Batten down the hatches

Frank Shepherd PublisherLocal businesses are in a pickle during this very unusual time. Most everyone living today has never experienced a worldwide pandemic, let alone one that is causing so many local businesses in Charlevoix County to close and remain closed indefinitely. Or at best, some operate with a slow cautious stream of customers.

And for those businesses that are closed or severely curtailed due to lack of customers, my suggestion is to open your toolbox and use tools you probably have never used or even imagined.

First and foremost is survival, and that will mean something different to each business. For example, if it is a lack of cash on your balance sheet, head to your bank now. Don’t wait another day. You might qualify for an interest-free loan with a sweet payback plan. If your main issue is lease expense contact the owner and ask for a reduction or forgiveness until this pandemic passes.

The following list of suggestions is not a “one size fits all” but is presented so you can pick and choose what works for you. Here goes the “To Do” list:

I suggest:

  1. Make a list of your expenses, largest to smallest.
  2. How many expenses can you get rid of? How many expenses can you reduce?
  3. Do you have labor expense? What percentage of your total expenses does labor represent? What about inventory? It looks like the Federal Government is looking at a program that will encourage you to keep paying your employees even though they are “working” from home. Stay abreast of all that the federal and state governments are doing. They just may be your salvation.  They are presenting new programs and ideas every day.
  4. Have a loan? Call your bank (better yet visit them for a face to face meeting) and see if you can forgo payment, or pay interest only until your business is back up and running.
  5. Raise as much cash as you can. Have cash value in an insurance policy? Go get it.
  6. Do you have business interruption insurance? If not then buy it.
  7. Can you apply for a small business loan? Again, make a list of possibilities and sit down with your bank. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask them for suggestions. Mortgage money has never been cheaper.   Maybe it’s time.  Go get it. It will take 45 days or longer just to see if you can qualify.
  8. Do you have a website selling your stuff? Better get one.
  9. Take phone orders and deliver to folks in your parking lot with their items in a box, paid for by credit card (a hardware could do this very well).
  10. Restaurants: Erect a big sign that says: ”Carry out windows open and 10% discount on all items.” The Villager Pub has a large one in its side window AND has blocked 3 parking places in front of the restaurant saying, “Carry Out Parking Only.” Nice idea!
  11. Have a brainstorming session with your family and employees looking for ways to cut costs and attract customers during the slow-down.
  12. Promote gift cards to raise cash.

Remember, the survival of your business is your priority so everything you do now will only strengthen your business when you fully re-open.

In summation, jettison as many expenses as you can; visit your bank to either defer payments or apply for a loan; have a creative brainstorming session with your family and employees; raise as much cash as your can; look for ways to attract customers while you are closed, and consider ways to appeal to them if you are open now but traffic is slow.

These are probably the most troubling times your business has ever faced so get creative and pray the Federal Government and State Government give you tax breaks that will lower your cash flow issues and hopefully they will find creative ways to put some cash in your pocket very soon. (Like sending a check to your bank account with a month’s worth of operating capital and keeping that up until you can open.)

But the real onus is on you, the owner, to become proactive in ways you may never have considered.

Blaming the “system” or “bad luck” may be soothing because it lets you off the hook. However, it’s much better to knuckle down and look for creative ways to survive until another day.

You will be grateful you put in the effort and so will your family, employees, customers and the community.

Your Township Officials

Ron VanZee

Kristin Baranski

Julie Collard

Bob Jess

Matt Cuningham

 

 

 

 

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