2005-12-01 / Front Page

Road Contracts Considered at Clark Twp.

By Amy Polk

Trustees at Clark Township will study road contracts, created a compensation committee, designated mowing areas, and appointed a planning commissioner and at their regular meeting Thursday, November 17.

Trustees tabled road improvement agreements with the Mackinac County Road Commission after it was discovered the projects will cost more than Clark Township will collect through its road millage next year.

Clark Township and Mackinac County Road Commission have been planning to make improvements to Blind Line and Swede roads in Cedarville and to Point Brulee Road in Hessel in 2006.

Clark Township will collect approximately $159,000 in road millage next year, and expected to spend it on dust suppression on gravel roads, gravel and maintenance projects, and work on Point Brulee and Blind Line roads. Point Brulee was slated for drainage work and a new chip and seal surface. Blind Line was slated for resurfacing with asphalt for the first quarter mile, starting at M-134 and heading north. The rest of Blind Line would be surfaced with chip and seal, north to West Nordquist Road. The entire road was to get drainage, foundation, and shoulder improvements.

Mackinac County Road Commission added Swede Road to next year’s plan because it plans to get a $75,200 federal grant to correct drainage, strengthen the subgrade, and apply or restore the aggregate surface. The project would cost Clark Township only $13,400 because of the federal grant.

Mackinac County Road Commission estimates the total cost of all the projects to be $247,066, or about $88,066 over the proposed budget.

Trustee Dana Leach, who serves on the Clark Township Road Committee, said all the project costs came in higher than the verbal estimates the Road Commission made previously. He recommended the Road Committee reconsider the proposed projects and find a way to cut at least $100,000 from next year’s projected expenditures. The committee will consider which projects to be retained.

A compensation advisory committee has been established to consider salaries and benefits for elected officials, and includes Robert “Dobby” Holland, Mike McMaken, Lana Causley, Kris Hill, and Beth McConkey, all of Clark Township. Clerk Cathy Nordquist and Trustee Tammy Cruickshank selected the members of the committee.

The committee is charged with reviewing how the elected officials should be compensated and will make recommendations to the township board. The three elected officials, including supervisor, clerk, and treasurer, are now each paid $19,500. Prior to the committee appointment, the board had proposed salary increases to $23,400. The increases have not been officially adopted, but they remain in the budget that was adopted in July.

At the November 17 meeting, the board tabled action on a contract with the township’s three unionized employees until its next meeting.

In a related salary matter, trustees amended the General Fund to increase the assessor’s budget by $20,650. The budget had reflected the salary of the previous assessor, Christina Thompson, and needed to be increased to the $60,000 the township is now paying assessor Sherry Burd.

The salary is all-inclusive, said Supervisor Linda Hudson, because Mrs. Burd is a contract assessor, rather than an employee of Clark Township. Mrs. Burd pays her own health insurance premium, payroll taxes, mileage, and boat transportation costs for island assessments. She also would pay for her own assistant if she needed to hire one. Some of the money budgeted for those assessing expenses was taken from the assessment block and rolled into the salary block.

Mrs. Burd is a Level III Assessor, and will assume more responsibility than previous assessors, including making lot splits for Clark Township. She will hold regular office hours at Clark Township Hall at least eight hours each week.

Ms. Hudson said the board moved money from the supervisor, clerk, treasurer, maintenance, and assessor departments to accommodate the additional salary. All those departments had surplus, included additional money budgeted for raises that have not yet been adopted, so some of the money budgeted for those raises was moved into the assessor’s block, said Treasurer Katie VanEenenaam-Carpenter.

Some years ago, the Les Cheneaux Advisory Committee improved those corners with welcome signs, split-rail fences, flowers, and flag poles, and Clark Township, in turn, agreed to maintain the corners by cutting grass and replacing lights as needed.

Over time, Clark Township began cutting a privately-owned lawn and has recently been asked if it would maintain another private corner.

To eliminate confusion and trim maintenance costs, Clark Township adopted a list of the street corners it will continue to maintain. In Cedarville, trustees agreed to maintain the southwest corner of M-129 and State Avenue, the northeast and northwest corners of M-129 and M-134, and the southeast corner of M-134 and Four Mile Block Road. In Hessel, they agreed to maintain the southeast corner of M-134 and Pickford Avenue, the northeast corner of M-134 and Three-Mile Road, and the northeast corner of M-134 and Nye Road.

Steve Honnila of Cedarville was appointed to the Planning Commission, replacing George Huff to serve out the final year of Mr. Huff’s three-year term. Mr. Honnila manages Viking Boat Harbor in Cedarville and has been a lifelong resident of Clark Township. He applied for the position because he said he works well with others, has a positive attitude, and is interested in continuing the positive growth of the community.

Trustees agreed to spend up to $30 a sign to install “Slow - Children at Play” signs along White Road on Hill Island. Some families have complained that traffic moves too quickly through residential areas there.

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