By Rosemary K. Otzman
After being criticized on Dec. 16 for not having published proper notice about that night’s public hearing on the 2014 amended, 2015 proposed, and special revenue fund budgets, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees took all the seven budget items involved off its agenda.
Then board members agreed to hold a special session between Christmas and New Year’s to hear comments from the public and take votes on the budgets.
The meeting will be held at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 30. The township must have a balanced budget approved by Dec. 31, with some saying charter townships must have had it approved by Dec. 15.
Public notice subsequently was published in the Dec. 18 edition of the Independent, the township’s newspaper of record, giving more than the six days’ notice to the public required for the Dec. 30 meeting. Copies of the budget were announced as being available at the clerk’s office, although the township offices were announced closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4.
The general fund budget proposed for 2015 is $14,029,375, up from the amended 2014 budget of $13,165,269.
Landfill fund transfers amount to $2,850,000 in 2015, up from the $2,610,527 in the amended 2014 budget.
In other business at the Dec. 16 meeting, the board:
• Accepted the resignations of Jere Dolph (because of his health) and Pastor Jim Richter (because he is moving) from the Downtown Development Authority and appointed former VBT Supervisor Helen Foster with a term to expire March 9, 2018 and Verdeterre president Christopher Brown with a term to expire March 9, 2017;
• Acknowledged Dolph and Richter for their years of service and also acknowledged Pastor Richter for his years of service as a Public Safety Chaplain;
• Heard a presentation by DPW Director Jim Taylor on the proposed water/sewer fee schedule, including a 6% rise in rates for water/sewer;
• Approved reprogramming CDBG funds from 2012, 2013, and 2014, in the total amount of $24,062.57 to pay for some of the new emergency warning outdoor sirens;
• Approved the contract with McKenna Associates to provide ongoing Community Development Block Grant services at a cost of $2,000 to $2,500 per month, depending on the level of effort required. Patrick Loan of McKenna presently is administering the CDBG program;
• Confirmed the appointment of Van Buren Public Schools Finance Director Robert Carlesso to a seat on the Local Development Finance Authority with a term to expire Aug. 12, 2015. Carlesso had been appointed by the school district as its representative to the LDFA;
• Before the meeting, the proposed confirmation of Bryce Kelley as the Wayne County appointee to the LDFA was removed. At the work/study session the day before the regular meeting, the appointment was opposed by board members and the public and Supervisor Linda Combs said she would ask the county for a different appointment;
• Approved an updated meeting rooms policy for the Municipal Center, Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room, and Gymasium, including rules and regulations, application forms, and waiver of liability forms; and
• Approved the wage agreement between AFSCME Local 236 and the township, with 1.5% raises on Jan. 1, 2015 and 2016, 2.5% raises on Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2018; and a $1 hour raise for custodians as of Jan. 1.
About half way through the proceedings of the 1-hour-and-45-minute meeting, Trustee Brenda McClanahan left the meeting because she said she was suffering from the flu. “I thought I’d be able to make it through the meeting, but I couldn’t,” she said later.
By Rosemary K. Otzman