2018-05-10 / Front Page

Thomas Twp. amends Golf Subdivision assessment roll, contributes to Menards Inc. v. City of Escanaba

By Cameron Kerkau

The Thomas Township board of trustees amended the special assessment Roll for the Swan Valley Golf Subdivision road improvement project at its latest meeting on Monday, May 7.

The amendment comes from an increase in the cost of the project. Originally, costs were estimated to be $244,200 but the lowest bid the township received for the project was $261,364.44. This brings the cost to $7,063.93 per lot. The township is contributing $1,500 per lot bringing the cost to the owner down to $5,563.93 to be paid over 10 years.

Rod Iamurri, chairman of the Planning Commission, said the citizens of Golf Subdivision were made aware that the originally proposed cost of the project was an estimate when signatures were collected in September of last year.

“I did talk to several neighbors and they’re still 100 percent supportive. I believe [Township Manager Russ Taylor] also got some calls that were supportive so I just want to encourage the board to move forward. I don’t want to cancel this because it’s going to cost us more next year,” said Iamurri.

A public hearing was opened for comment on the amended assessment roll but no member of public participated. The board approved the contract for the project to Graebner Excavating.

The board also approved a resolution to help defray legal costs in Menards Inc. v City of Escanaba by contributing $1,000 to the City of Escanaba legal defense fund, in which Menards is challenging the Escanaba’s property valuation.

According to Deidro Frollo, director of the Finance Department, the situation in Escanaba is similar to an incident which occurred in Thomas Township in 2012, when Home Depot and Meijer used the dark storE theory, which claims commercial properties should be appraised and valued the same whether the property is operating or shuttered, to challenge the valuations of their Thomas Township properties with the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The MTT ruled in favor of the corporations and according to Taylor, the township has lost an estimated $85,000 and Swan Valley Schools has lost an estimated $440,000 in tax revenues since the decision.

“A positive outcome on [Menards Inc. v City of Escanaba] is going to be precedent-setting and has the potential to benefit the township because at a certain point we expect some of the other gas stations and fast food restaurants to apply this same theory to their property valuations,” said Frollo.

The board rescinded the township dumpster services award which was originally granted to Billy’s Contracting in March and approved a three year dumpster service contract with Waste Management. The change comes from an oversight in the Township’s previous contract with Waste Management which included language that granted Waste Management the first right of refusal to dumpster services. The current contract is contingent upon the deletion of the right of refusal language.

Geiersbach Construction was awarded a bid of $249,850 to lengthen the Thomas Trail .83 miles north.

The board purchased a 1955 G-16 train for $15,000 to be used alongside the 1957 G-16 train in events such as the Haunted Train Ride at Roethke Park, which Parks and Recreation Director John Corriveau hopes will cut the wait time for such events in half.

The board also purchased two vehicles. A 2018 Chevrolet Equinox was purchased from McDonald Chevrolet Inc. in the amount of $21,907 for the Community Development Department, and a 2019 Ford F250 Utility Truck was purchased from McDonald Ford in the amount of $34,400 for the Department of Public Works.

Spicer Group was awarded $98,000 to complete engineering, design, administration and inspection for the sidewalk and trail on Van Wormer and O’Hern Roads in accordance with the Safe Routes to School Grant.

Tri-Valley Construction was awarded a bid in the amount of $135,630.72 for the installation of sidewalks on North Thomas Road between Frost Road and Briarwood Drive.

The board also approved of an easement for the Saginaw County Public Works office to access the Swan Creek Drain.

The board approved the purchase of Simunition firearms training materials and protective equipment for the Thomas Township Police Department, which, according to Chief Steve Kocsis, will allow the department to run more realistic training scenarios.

The board approved of the purchase of two Flygt NP 3085 submersible pumps for the Highland Green Lift Station in the amount of $13,508 as well as the sewage pump station control system in the amount of $5,649, both from Kennedy Industries.

A contract to replace the lighting at both Thomas Township fire stations was awarded to Helm Electric in the amount of $8,490. The board also purchased 25 MSA Self Contained Breathing apparatuses from Apollo Fire Equipment in the amount of $176,606.90 for the fire department.

Also, at the meeting, the board approved the hire of Meaghan Zielinski for the Parks and Recreation Department, received the resignation of fire fighter Matthew Marshall, and promoted Jerri Sierocki and Trevor Schultz from probationary to full-time employees for the Department of Public Works.

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