By Diane Madigan
Independent Special Writer
In a 40-minute meeting on Nov. 27, Van Buren Township’s Downtown Development Authority discussed the DDA’s plan to join a consortium to fight the Wayne County Treasurer’s decree to stop capturing the zoo millage, which would include the upcoming DIA millage, as well.
The consortium currently includes Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Romulus, Belleville, Taylor, Northville, and Wyandotte.
DDA chairman Jere Dolph asked DDA Executive Director Susan Ireland if she had a chance to speak with township Treasurer Sharry Budd to make sure, “She knows what we’re doing.”
“She is very aware of it,” Ireland replied. “The township will capture the zoo millage and so will the DDA, unless we hear otherwise.”
In a story on the zoo millage in the Nov. 29 issue of the Independent the harsh letter to Treasurer Budd from the Wayne County Treasurer was detailed.
The DDA approved a $2,500 retainer to Moynihan PC for their legal representation, with fees to be drawn from the retainer. The DDA gave Ireland permission to sign the engagement letter. This should pay for ten hours of service.
There has been significant correspondence between Roger Swets from Clarke Hill and Moynihan PC, and Swets is very satisfied with the language and the understanding that if it gets to a certain point, the township would be notified before lawyers proceed with additional work.
The agenda was amended to consider approval of the amended 2012 budget. There are some new figures based upon bond numbers that were received that day.
The newly amended 2012 DDA budget included costs of the bond issuance at $262,000 which is part of the $4.9 million bond issue for the Ecorse Road project.
Acquiring bond insurance raised the DDA bond credit rating from A- to AA-. The current interest rate on the bonds is 3% compared to the 5.25% for the fire station. The money for the bonds was expected to be wired on Nov. 28.
The amended 2012 budget was unanimously approved by the DDA.
Ireland summarized a report from Wade Trim which updated the Belleville/Ecorse Road project. During the winter shut-down which is expected to last until March, two lanes of traffic running north and south on Belleville Road will be maintained. Just like it is now. Traffic on Ecorse will remain as is.
During the downtime, the engineers will address service issues at Stacks in hopes of finding some extra space for landscaping and the focal features to be installed.
In other business at the Nov. 27 meeting, the DDA:
• Learned the $24,750 roof repair at Fire Station 2, paid for by the DDA, has been completed;
• Was informed that contractor Communication Associates will attend the January DDA meeting;
• Heard Ireland report that she has not been able to confirm the attendance of Bryce Kelley from the Aerotropolis at that meeting. Chairman Dolph said it would be nice to understand where they stand, adding at the present time there are a lot of objections from not only the VBT board but others, including Ypsilanti and Huron Township, who would like to back out of Aerotropolis. Ireland said that the DDA put the $25,000 Aerotropolis membership fee in its 2013 budget but they are not going to pay it unless someone tells the DDA “what we’re getting”; and
• Heard Ireland report she had been receiving phone calls regarding the fence along Belleville Road by Harmony Lane. Ireland said she called Wade Trim engineers who did a basic survey on the existing chain link. The two end pieces are on the property line, and the piece that goes between Sunrise and Harmony Lane is in the county right of way. The fence was put in by the developer in the ‘60s and if it is in the County right of way then it is part of the streetscape and belongs to the DDA, she said. Regardless, all felt that the fence looks “real bad”.
Different options discussed ranged from tearing it down, fixing, and replacing it with much concern for notification to the residents, residents with dogs, and privacy. At first all agreed that the fence will go on the property line. In most cases this will make the backyards smaller, for some up to four feet. At this point the thought was to put it on the existing line.
DDA member Pastor James Richter thought a more residential fence with cement pillars and vinyl fencing would give more privacy.
Ireland said she is going to ask McKenna for suggestion and possibly go to the Planning Commission for requirements. She said she will also check on prices and options for fencing and check with Wayne County for concerns about putting a fence in the right of way.
Present at the Nov. 27 DDA meeting were Chairman Dolph, Secretary Sophie Zoller, Township Supervisor Linda Combs, and Directors Carol Bird, Laginess, and Richter, along with Ireland and recording secretary Linda Stevenson.
Absent and excused were vice chairman Kurt Atchinson and Directors Baskin, Bechtel, and Blank. Director Miller was absent and unexcused.
By Diane Madigan