At its regular meeting on Jan. 17, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees approved going out for competitive bids for up to $7 million in a series of tax-exempt, capital improvement bonds on Feb. 2.
The successful low-interest-cost bidder will be approved by the supervisor and treasurer and closing will be Feb. 23 when the funds will be available to help build the new Community Center expansion.
The bonds pledge the full faith and credit of the township for repayment.
Supervisor Kevin McNamara said the bond specifications are written so the township can call the bonds in 2028 and pay them off or refinance them for a better rate. Otherwise, the bonds are scheduled to be paid off on Oct. 1, 2037.
The $14 million Community Center project is also using county, DDA, and Civic Fund money for the project.
In other business at the Jan. 17 meeting, the board:
• Approved Supervisor McNamara’s recommendation of Bryon Kelley as the new trustee to fill the vacancy left when Reggie Miller was elected state representative. Clerk Leon Wright swore Kelley in and he was seated at the board table;
• Approved McNamara’s recommendation to hire Daniel Consulting as a lobbying firm for one year on behalf of the township at a cost of $4,000 a month — $48,000 a year. David Katz said he is in the district of the new speaker of the House, which will help. McNamara said he interviewed four firms and three were Republicans. He said he has no problem with Republicans but there has been a flip in government and the three firms had too many other governments they already represent. He said Katz doesn’t have any other governments yet. The cost will be paid 50% by the general fund, and 25% each by the DDA and Water/Sewer fund;
• Approved the request of the Downtown Development Authority to approve hiring Romulus DDA Director Merrie Coburn as executive director of the Van Buren Township DDA to replace retiring executive director Susan Ireland, who has worked for the township for 39 years. Ireland will assist Coburn with DDA details for a smooth transition at a cost of $100 an hour for a year. McNamara said the DDA subcommittee interviewed four candidates for the position and McNamara said he called Coburn’s bosses and was told she is a very excellent person;
• Approved first reading of Ordinance 01-17-23(1) to increase planning commission flexibility in decisions regarding garage door orientation and minimum building separation in residential projects;
• Approved the special-land-use request for Integrity Component and Design fabricating and warehouse building and outdoor storage at 5925 Beck Rd., south of the Mans Lumber store in Canton Township. The business, which is part of Mans, will manufacture trusses and wall panels and store materials outside in a fenced area. Truck traffic will be directed north on Beck Road to Michigan Avenue;
• Approved the special-land-use request for Brookwood Senior Housing on the north side of Tyler Road east of Morton Taylor Road. Planned are 132 units, which will be in 35 buildings of attached 2, 4, and 6-plex units. Tenants will have long-term leases and be age 55 and older. Maintenance will be provided inside and outside. Services will be provided as needed, such as memory care, housekeeping, and food delivery, on an ala carte basis. McNamara asked if there will be transportation to the senior center and Chris Garner said yes, it would be part of the transportation services;
• Approved the special-land-use request for Zippy Auto Wash automatic car wash at 11650 Belleville Rd. with the condition that a traffic study must be made and reviewed by the planning commission before the final site plan is considered;
• Approved adoption of the Planning Commission Annual Report for 2022 as required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act and prepared by Dan Power, director of planning and economic development;
• Approved the supervisor’s reappointment of Harlan Davenport to the Construction Code of Appeals Board with a term to expire Feb. 28, 2026;
• Approved the reappointments of Daniel Belander, Charles Coleman, Kimberly Nofz, Todd O’Neil, Denise Willoughby and Tammy Wall to the Recreation Committee with terms to expire Feb. 1, 2024;
• Proclaimed January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in Van Buren Township because more awareness is needed. Jennifer Nagy of Van Buren Township said she is a survivor of cervical cancer and an employee of the American Cancer Society. She said regular screening tests for cervical cancer save lives since it can be detected before it starts and vaccines are available for children aged 9 through 12 against HPV (Human Papillomavirus); and
• Heard Trustee Kevin Martin say that the township has complete-care housing for seniors and independent units for seniors, but it needs the “missing middle” housing that is between the $300,000 homes and subsidized housing. He said the township needs affordable housing and he would like it to come up with a solution.
The board met in closed session for an hour before the regular meeting to discuss the strategy and negotiations of the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement.