Sheridan Township Board of Trustees Meeting
July 20, 2021
I. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Richard Porter at 7:00 pm.
The Pledge was led by Richard Porter
Present: Randy Fisher, Scott Frederick, Hayley England, Stephanie Craig, and Richard Porter.
Audience: Gary Tompkins, Harold Badger, Doug Pollman, Lance Lohrke, Lance Waito, Sara Mills, Brandon Zick, Wayne & Kathy Weaver, Tom Frank
II. Approval of Agenda: A motion was made by Randy, 2nd by Hayley to accept the agenda as written. All in favor. The motion passed.
III. Public Hearing. The public hearing for establishing an industrial development district for Calhoun County Solar Project, LLC (Savion) started at 7:01. Richard explained the purpose of the public hearing. Richard asked for questions. Tom Frank asks if it will be light industrial or industrial district. Harold Badger confirms that it is light industrial. Wayne Weaver asks about the number of acres in the project. Richard explains that the original proposal is not the same as the current one, as some parcels were dropped from the original proposal. Wayne asks if any of this will change his taxes. Richard clarifies that the solar company will be paying for any changes on the tax bills. The Township is not privy to the lease agreements between the solar company and the property owners, and the details of the tax increases/changes will be found in the lease agreements. Randy explains to the public that once the public hearing portion of this meeting is closed, public comment on this subject will also be closed. The board will discuss and vote on this item later in the meeting, but no public comments will be taken. Richard asks for other questions. Tom Franks asks about how the tax bills will work. He is wondering if the Township will send a bill to the solar company. Richard says that the tax bills from the township will not change. It will still be a single bill for the property owners, not one for the property owner and one for the solar company. Any difference in the tax bill is between the property owner and the solar company. Doug Pollman asks about the fields beside his house. Richard explains that as soon as the leases are up with the solar companies, the properties will revert back to agricultural. No other questions or comments are raised. A motion was made by Randy, 2nd by Scott to close the public hearing at 7:13.
IV. Approval of previous Township Board Minutes: A motion was made by Scott, 2nd by Randy to accept the June 15th meeting minutes as presented. All in favor. The motion passed
V. Payment of Bills: A few clarifications were made about the bills. A motion was made by Randy, 2nd by Scott to approve the payment of the bills. Roll call vote; all in favor. The motion passed
VI. Treasurers Report: A motion was made by Randy, 2nd by Scott to accept the treasurers report as presented. Roll call vote; all in favor. The motion passed.
VII. Correspondence: Richard updates us on current correspondence. Novi energy is looking to lease property in our township. As of yet we are not sure exactly which parcels they are looking at. The township got a grant from Calhoun County Solid Waste Advisory for trail cameras. We got two cameras that we can use to prosecute people that are dumping trash in our township. We just had an event for trash/recycling on June 26th, which was a big success, but we are still having a problem with people dumping. These cameras will be a great help in that area.
VIII. Committee Reports
1. Planning Commission/Roads – Scott Frederick. There was a special meeting last week to pass a resolution for Ranger Power for access roads that they wanted to move inside their project. The Master Plan is pretty much completed. The next big item on the Planning Commission’s list is the Township Ordinances. Scott brings up the road problems. Gary Tompkins agrees with Scott’s frustration, and explains that the road contractors started on the west side of the county, it didn’t matter where the worst roads were. Discussion followed and it is noted that the county does not seem to be managing their workers or financing properly, and it is not working for our residents. Gary says that no matter what a township pays to fix the roads (50% or 100%) we still have to use the County Contractors to work on the roads, we do not have a choice. Harold comments that as the property owners, our residents pay taxes and own those roads, and we as residents need to go to the county meetings and make ourselves heard. Discussion ensued about the Road Commission, and why nothing seems to be making any difference.
2. Fire – Chief Lance Lohrke. See the attached report for the calls from June and July. Lance Lohrke goes over the calls for the last two months. Training for June was Haz-Mat/Boom deployment. We received a grant from Albion Community Foundation for water rescue equipment. Donnovan will be coming in to do training for water rescue.
IX. Public Comment:
Doug Pollman talks about the grading on the shoulder of the road that was done earlier this year. He talks about the mess they left when they did it. Richard notes that we need to take these issues to the County. Randy states that it is the road commission supervisor that isn’t doing their job properly.
Gary Thompkins Calhoun County Commissioner had their first in-person meeting on July 15th. He talks about the ARPA funds, and that the county is discussing what they will be doing with those. He talks about the Broadband Taskforce that he is a part of. On July 14th there was a strategy meeting for this task force. On July 19th a survey went live for this project. They are asking everyone to respond to this survey. They want to have accessible, affordable internet available to everyone in Calhoun County. Richard asks about the cost to the townships. Gary responds that it should not cost the taxpayers anything at all. Gary goes over his newsletter. There are not many road projects that will be done this year. There are funding concerns that need to be discussed. He tells about the recycling event that we had on June 26th that was a big success. He would like to have more events like this on the east side of the county. Scott brings up the road funds. He is wondering where they money is going. Gary explains that the county does not have a 5-year plan, or a 1-year plan, which is a problem. They need a plan for the budgeting of the road funds each year, including which roads will be completed each year. Lance asks about Erie Road, and why they fixed a perfectly good road when we have so many others that actually need fixing. Gary replies that the “grants” that are received are only for certain roads, which makes them more difficult to use.
X. Unfinished Business:
XI. New Business
1. Vote on Resolution 2021-07 to approve rezoning the parcels in the Savion Calhoun County Solar Project from agricultural to light industrial. Randy comments that we have already looked at this from a previous Solar company. This process is for the solar company to be able to apply to the state for a Payment in Leu of Taxes (PILT). This will ultimately benefit the Township. A motion was made by Randy, 2nd by Scott to accept Resolution 2021-07 to establish an industrial development district for Calhoun County Solar Project. Roll call vote; all in favor. The motion passed.
2. Discuss temporary replacement for Zoning Administrator. Richard explains why we might need a temporary replacement for our Zoning Administrator. He met with Bryan Powers on Monday July 19th. Bryan would like Tom’s wages while he is taking over the position. Tom has agreed, and is hoping that it will be a leave of absence. Bryan would be able to work remotely. Randy asks about how the wages would be paid. Richard explains that this would be a payroll check separate from Bryans building inspector wages. This would be an interim fix. If anything changes with Tom’s situation, we will revisit this issue. Harold Badger asks what will happen to the current complaints that Tom is dealing with. Richard admits that this could be a problem, and that some of these complaints will have to be started over. Tom is working to complete as many of these as he can before his surgery. Randy asks about conflict of interest between Zoning Administrator and Building Inspector. Richard responds that there is no conflict of interest. Bryan has other Townships that he does zoning work for, so he is qualified for this position.
XII. Adjourn: A motion was made by Randy, 2nd by Hayley to adjourn at 8:16. All in favor; the motion passed.
Stephanie Craig, Secretary