By Pat Maurer
“I believe this is the shortest township meeting we have ever had,” Supervisor Dan Dysinger said the at the first meeting of the new year Tuesday evening. There were no audience members present and the meeting was over in just 15 minutes.
Other than the payment of bills, approval of the December meeting minutes, and regular reports, the only business was a discussion prompted by public comment on the condition of many gravel roads around the area.
This reporter notified the supervisor and board that one mile of Harrison Avenue between Maple and Dunlop (the Isabella County line) is nearly impassable and that the intersection shared by the two counties is even worse, noting that she would be avoiding that route north to Clare and Farwell from now on.
Saying that Harrison Avenue is a primary road, Dysinger said he would pass the information along to the Clare County Road Commission at an upcoming scheduled meeting on Thursday.
The complaint prompted the supervisor and two board members to report on other bad roads they have encountered and complaints they have received recently from township residents.
Treasurer Tammy Shea said the gravel road (Arthur Township) to reach her parents’ home was “worse than it was last spring.”
Township Clerk Tammy Teal said she is working part time as a bus attendant on Clare Schools bus routes and echoed the bad conditions on gravel roads saying one intersection – Grant/Crawford Road at Clarabella – is so bad that the bus has to crawl around the corner to get through the potholes safely. Any speed she added, could cause the bus to roll.
Trustee Karl Randall said he had seen Isabella County trucks grading some of that county’s back roads. “It is the right time to do it,” he said, “before the ground freezes again.”
Dysinger said the unusually warm weather and recent rains have created problems traveling on most back roads and that he would pass this information along.
Wednesday morning he said, the road crews have been out on Harrison Avenue and Coolidge off Surrey, but they are hitting frost as they try to grade the gravel roads. He added, “It’s going to be a hard year for road maintenance because of the freezing and thawing of the road surfaces.
In an email, Dysinger reported on some other business already lined up for the February meeting of the Township board.
He said one item is about the estimated costs for well testing at the “old Grant Township dump” in Section 18. “This property was once used as a domestic landfill from 1953 to December 31, 1989 when it was closed,” he said, adding, “We last tested the wells on the property in 2013.”
The Township has been fortunate that all the tests done up to 2013 have found non-detects of contaminates,” he said.
At the next meeting, he said another item that will be on the agenda will be establishing “dates for budget workshops in March and setting a date for the public hearing and adoption of the budget for the fiscal year 2023 to 2024.” The budget for the fiscal year of 2021-22 totaled $996,200 in income and expenditures when it was adopted last March.
He also reported that, depending on estimated costs, another agenda item would be “a revised road plan for 2023.” He added, “Those estimated costs would be provided by the Clare County Road Commission.”
The preliminary road plan for the year was outlined at the regular meeting last September. It included:
Paving related projects in the Schaefer/Holbrook Subdivision; the Oakland Drive Subdivision; Eberhart Avenue (Colonville Road to County Line); Washington Road (Eberhart Ave. to Cornwell); Kapplinger Road (Harrison Ave. to Maple Grove Road); and Beaverton/Kapplinger Road (Grant Avenue. to White Birch). Also planned is dust control and a contingency fund, all totaling $697,000.
Other roads in need of overlays or chip seal next year include: Grant Rd. between M-115/Old 10 and County Line (overlay); Harrison Ave. Between Surrey Road and Winding Wood/Buckley Road (overlay); Harrison Ave. Between Surrey Road and M-115/Old US 10.
Gravel Roads in need of ditching, tree cleaning and gravel would cost between $250,000 and $500,000 per mile (township share would be half that amount), the September article said. “They can be very costly.”
Dysinger also mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting that there would be proposed changes in the Building Inspection program (which includes mechanical, building, plumbing and electrical) on the March agenda.
Other business at the meeting included the approval of bills paid totaling $25,914.32.