By NIKKI YOUNK
QUINNESEC - Bids for Breitung Township's 2014 road paving projects have been opened, and Bacco Construction of Iron Mountain came in with the low bid.
During their Monday meeting, members of the Breitung Township Board of Trustees voted to recommend that the Dickinson County Road Commission award the projects to Bacco.
Roads to be paved include portions of River Street, Cemetery Lane, Brule Street, Mellen Street, and Menominee Street.
Leftover projects from last year, which include Fumee Lake Drive, Timber Lane, and South Park Avenue, will be completed by Payne & Dolan of Gladstone at the prices agreed upon last year.
Total cost of both the 2014 projects and the leftover 2013 projects is $283,043, which is $42,957 under budget. Township Superintendent Joe Rogina said that the extra funds will cover the costs of gravel and drainage structures for the projects.
Township Supervisor Denny Olson warned that the gravel and drainage structures may end up costing more than $42,957.
"It'll be close," he said.
Rogina added that work on Cemetery Lane may have to be pushed back to next year if the railroad does not agree to upgrade their crossing at the same time.
In other business, the board:
- Heard Olson report that he, Township Assessor Joan Nelson, and Dickinson County Equalization Director Sid Bray attended the recent Michigan Court of Appeals hearing regarding the township's case against Home Depot.
Home Depot is among a number of "big box" retailers in Michigan that have gotten their property tax assessments slashed by the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The reduction for Home Depot in Breitung Township amounts to a loss of more than 50 percent in taxable value for the property.
Olson said that he would expect an answer from the court in about two months. Since the case remains in litigation, he did not want to say too much about it. However, he did note that he felt "positive" after attending the hearing.
- Tabled action on purchasing a subscription to Munetrix, which provides software that would bring together township information into one package for budgeting, charting, and tracking finances. Information could then be put online for the public to browse.
Board members had some reservations, as there has not been a citizen demand for the information that Munetrix would make available. They also wanted to know more about the company and hear some customer reviews. Olson suggested that the item be tabled until the township can obtain some references from other municipalities.
If the township does decide to go with the software, it will cost $1,495 annually.
- Authorized numerous requests to attend out-of-town meetings. Township Clerk Samantha Coron will attend a breakfast meeting with Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in Escanaba on Wednesday, Breitung Township Department of Public Works employee Bill Bailey will attend the 2014 U.P. Waterworks Institute in Marquette on April 22 and 23, Nelson will attend the U.P. Assessors' Association meeting in Harris on May 5, Rogina will attend the Michigan Association of Counties meeting in Harris on May 8 in order to discuss the Home Depot case, and members of the planning commission and the zoning board of appeals will attend a seminar in Marquette on May 20. In many of these cases, the township will cover registration, mileage, lodging, and meal expenses.
- Approved a request from the Lake Antoine Association for $5,000 to put toward treatment of Eurasian water milfoil in 2014. The item was budgeted. Trustee Ben Peterson voted against the motion, citing concerns over herbicide use in the lake.
- Approved a request from the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Community Schools for $2,000 to put toward its summer recreation program. The item was budgeted.
- Purchased an advertisement in Dickinson County's new plat book at a cost of $400. The item was budgeted.
- Approved a resolution in support of the amendments to the Dickinson County solid waste management plan. The major revision is the addition of construction and demolition waste to the waste accepted at the Niagara Development Landfill in the township.
- Announced that there will be a town hall meeting at the township hall in Quinnesec on Monday, April 21 at 6 p.m. to discuss lowering the speed limit on U.S. 2 through Quinnesec and adding warning signals at all railroad crossings.
Representatives from the township, local law enforcement, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Dickinson County will be on hand.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.