By Rosemary K. Otzman
At its regular meeting Sept. 24, the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees gave local approval to Roy Acho’s request for a Class C Liquor License for his new sit-down dining area at Benito’s Pizza.
Acho now can proceed with the lengthy application process through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
There reportedly were three liquor licenses available in the township.
After leasing space for his business for 19 years at 51255 Willis Road, earlier this summer Acho purchased the Five Star Party Store/Benito’s property and repainted the buildings and resurfaced the parking lot. He now is expanding his store to include a dining area.
Acho said a Class C license allows the serving of beer, wine, and liquor by the glass.
In other business at the Sept. 24 meeting, the board:
• Approved increasing the employer contribution to 15% for the AFSCME employees and the non-union employees and to increase the reimbursement of expenses for elected officials to 75%, beginning Oct. 1. Township attorney Rob Young said the financial advisor said since the township is stronger now, this should be done to cover expenses so the unfunded portion is paid off. He stressed it is not an increase in benefits, but contributions to cover a shortfall. He said in six to seven years the township will be debt-free from all bonds, except one sewer bond;
• Approved the Command Officers Association union contract to expire Sept. 30, 2017, contingent on the wording change on long-term disability. If an officer is off longer than a year due to a non-work-related injury, paperwork from a medical doctor is required to say the employee is likely to return to work within a year. There is a two-year cap. There is no pay raise, but there is an adjustment to the captain’s pay with a 6% increase over his existing lieutenant’s pay;
• Heard Young said that within the next two weeks, a union contract with the patrol officers will be ready, as well, based on the command officers contract;
• Discussed briefly a suggestion that police officers should live in the township. Young said he has been township attorney since 1988 and residency in the township for a police officer never has been a requirement. He said they have had a radius or 15 or 25 miles over the years, but an officer never had to live in the township. Actually, Young said, it now is illegal and inappropriate to require residency. He said although there has been talk in the community, former Chief Melvin Turner tendered his resignation and it had nothing to do with residency. Trustee Bill Hamm said he watched on cable the recording of the last meeting that he missed and he was baffled about the discussion on residency. Young said he also was baffled and surprised by the suggestion;
• Approved the purchase of three park benches from AAA State of Play for $1,160, paid out of the Wayne County Parks Grant;
• Approved free use of the community center gym for the craft show Nov. 1 and 2, with proceeds to support the senior citizens’ Christmas party;
• Approved the 2013 tax resolution: 1 mill for fire, 3 mills for police operating, and 0.7904 for township operating for a total of 4.7904 mills to be put on the December tax bills;
• Approved snow removal for seniors bid from Lator Gator to be used only in emergency;
• Approved a change in a resolution regarding unmetered water or sewer rates to remove the dollar amount so the ordinance doesn’t have to be changed each time the rates go up. The amount will be determined by the current schedule of rates passed by the board;
• Approved terminating five fire fighters for violating the Michigan Association of Fire Fighters union contract by not paying their union dues. The union was organized last spring;
• Accepted the resignation of police officer Chaim Kozak, who has been hired by the Westland Police Department;
• Learned the beaver traps are out in Banotai Park, but there is no sign of beavers;
• Approved, with a roll-call vote, paying warrants totaling $1,762,112.11;
• Heard a presentation on the CROP Hunger Walk which will be Oct. 6, starting at 1 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church in Romulus and walking to Lower Huron Metropark. The event is to raise money to feed the hungry and 25% of the donations remain in this community;
• Heard Virginia Belinski say a new, low-impact, arthritis exercise class begins Oct. 1 at the senior center. It will run Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and it is free. It is for anyone who would like to stay fit;
• Heard Mary Ban discuss the district library plans and SMART meters, which she opposes.
Treasurer John Morgan presided at the meeting in the absence of Supervisor Johnny Vawters.
By Rosemary K. Otzman