By Rosemary K. Otzman
On a 6-1 vote at its regular meeting on June 3, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees approved the DPW Director’s request for purchase of a 2014 XLT-Plus F-150 pickup truck from Jack Demmer Ford for $30,706.
Trustee Reggie Miller cast the only nay vote against the purchase, saying she disagreed with buying a “top of the line truck” for DPW employees to use for meter repairs.
“Why not go with the bare-bones minimum, a standard package, instead of options that will cost to maintain in the future?” Miller asked.
DPW Director James Taylor said he advertised for sealed bids and received the single bid from Demmer. He told the board the bid of $30,706 was about $4,000 lower than the purchase price of recently purchased 2013 F-150s.
The base price of the new truck was $30,706, Taylor said, which includes power locks and power windows, floor mats, reverse sensing system, reverse camera, power mirrors, tailgate step, HID headlamps, remote start, supercrew cab, and leather seats.
The specifications also call for the truck to be Blue Jeans Metallic in color, have the SXT Chrome Package, Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover, and factory-spray bed liner, along with Sirius XM Radio. The radio is free for six months, as part of the package, and Taylor said they will not seek to renew Sirius when the free service runs out.
On its March 27 bid, Demmer Ford said the special order will take 4-6 weeks to fill.
“We didn’t go through the state bidding process because we thought it would be higher,” said Taylor. “We found out this was a better deal.”
Later in the meeting when the public could respond, John Delaney said the board was lied to two weeks earlier when Taylor said the trucks bought last summer were XLTs. They weren’t, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Delaney.
Also, the trucks bought last summer were 2014s, the same year as the one being bought this summer.
He noted Taylor didn’t use the state bidding process. And, Delaney pointed out, Taylor said he needed more space in the truck because more people could be transported in one truck when they go to training. He suggested getting something like a Ford Ranger for the truck used to maintain meters and carry repair items.
Delaney said the township could have saved $11,000 by going to the proper people to order the vehicle. He referred to the XLT purchase as a “parade” package because of all the chrome.
In other business at the June 3 meeting, the board:
• Approved filing a petition to abandon a portion of the Fisher and Lenge Drain which is on the property to be developed by Costco for a truck depot;
• Approved the second reading and adoption of an ordinance to amend the code of ordinances and to repeal the section on Begging. Instead of just repealing the ordinance, it was rewritten;
• Approved adoption of the 300+ page Wayne County Hazard Mitigation Plan, which is required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to receive funds made available through certain mitigation grant programs. This is a renewal of what VBT had in the past, Combs said;
• Approved a special use request for Full House Self-Storage for expansion of the mini warehouse/self-storage facility, as recommended by the planning commission. John Delaney asked about requiring sidewalks in front that aren’t a part of the plan and Supervisor Linda Combs said that would be covered as part of the site plan review;
• Approved first reading of an amendment to the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 46, Fire Prevention and Protection, by replacing Article III – Fireworks. The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act (effective January 2012) limits municipalities from enacting any ordinance regulating the sale, display, storage, transportation or distribution of consumer fireworks;
• Heard Supervisor Combs read a letter from Margaret and Lawrence Zelanka of Ormond Drive thanking two police officers for their help in a parking lot on May 25. They included lotto tickets to give to the police officers and wished them good luck;
• Heard Delaney question the legality of the closed-door session the previous day “to discuss the township attorney’s opinion letter regarding the township’s access/use policies and rules for the township meeting rooms, multi-purpose rooms, and gymnasium, as well as to discuss the township attorney’s opinion letter regarding township’s access/use policies and rules regarding sponsorship / advertising space for events held by the township.” He said the public should be able to offer their opinions on those subjects in open meetings;
• Heard an update on the Belleville Road construction by Downtown Development Executive Director Susan Ireland. She said those with questions may call Dan’s Excavating construction department at (734) 947-9700;
• Learned the phase II of the parking lot resurfacing at the township hall will begin June 23 and take about a week to complete. The area to be paved is around the recreation/senior center and people are asked to park at the other end of the building during the work;
• Heard a suggestion for those heading to the Strawberry Festival in Belleville to take Haggerty or Rawsonville to Huron River Drive to get to Belleville because of the Belleville Road construction;
• Heard Reg Ion inquire about the fence that was removed by the county at the corner of Ecorse and Beck and Combs said the county said there was no fence there and Wayne County has no plan to install a fence there. Ion said it was a farm fence, but kept the people from entering Ecorse Road by driving over the grass from the service drive. Ion also said Wayne County Airport is using Beck Road for its gravel trains during construction, raising large amounts of dust. He said they should be asked to put calcium chloride or water on the road to keep the dust down. Combs said she would contact the airport about the problem; and
• Heard Combs announce that Clerk Leon Wright has earned CMMC (Certified Michigan Municipal Clerk) certification from the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. Wright said Deputy Clerk Kathy Cline also has CMMC certification.
By Rosemary K. Otzman