Dysinger, residents take turns criticizing road commission

July 11, 2019

By Pat Maurer

District 3 County Commissioner Leonard Strouse asked the Grant Township board and the audience at their Tuesday meeting how they felt about the County Commission either taking over the Clare County Road Commission or increasing the number of commissioners’ seats on the CCRC to a five or seven member board.

“A five-member [CCRC] board would be an appointed board,” Strouse said. Two new road commissioners would be appointed until the present three members’ terms expire, and then more would be appointed.

“We all know there are problems with the road commission,” he added. “It was repulsive for ‘someone’ to send out pictures and information about Deepak. He was already leaving the road commission.”

Grant Township Resident Beverly Mapes, who lives on Kapplinger Drive, said despite a contract with the CCRC to clear ditch property they used when building Kapplinger, she had a problem exiting her drive until she contacted former Engineer Manager Deepak Gupta about the issue. “Mr. Deepak was there the next day and it was taken care of she said.”

Resident Bruce Tiedeman said, “When you call up there, you can’t get past the secretary. It’s been a problem for years.

Grant Supervisor Dan Dysinger said, “There are two major issues at the road commission. They consistently violate the open meeting act, they wouldn’t even allow public comment or allow me to ask questions or talk about road projects.” Dysinger was talking about a recent workshop session of the CCRC that he attended.

He continued, “By statute, the [CCRC] board; duties are to develop policy and budget management. They are not supposed to micromanage.”
Strouse said, “I’m just stunned that they didn’t allow public comment at an open meeting.

Grant Township Resident Merle Harmon said to Strouse, “It’s pretty simple. Take the drama out of the equation, forget the other stuff and do what’s best for the county.”

The County Board of Commissioners, who recently asked their attorney to look into the process should they decide to take over the CCRC, may not have much time.

They may lose the chance to make that kind of a change because the process outlined will expire at the end of this year.

Dysinger quoted the process outlined by the state:
MCL 224.6, Section 6 (8) before January 1, 2020, the county board of commissioners in a county with an elected board of county road commissioners may, by a resolution as allowed under section 11 of 1851 PA 156, MCL 46.11, submit to the qualified and registered electors of the county at the next regular election (November 2020) to be held in the county the question of transferring the powers, duties, and functions of the elected board of county road commissioners of that county to the county board of commissioners.  If the majority of the qualified and registered electors of the county voting on the question vote in favor of transferring the powers, duties, and functions of the elected county road commissioners of that county is dissolved and the county board of commissioners is authorized to receive and expend funds as allowed under 1951 PA 51.”

“Section 6(9) provides that the county board of commissioners shall conduct, at a minimum 2 public hearings on whether to transfer the powers, duties, and functions of the board of county road commissioners to the county board of commissioners.

Dysinger added, “Currently there is some proposed legislation that would extend the deadline of January 1, 2020 either another 5 years or extend it indefinitely.”

He continued, “There is also a procedure to alter the number of road commissioners under Section 6 (6) by holding a public hearing and making the necessary notifications as outlined in the Open Meetings Act.  This particular adjustment of the number of road commission members remedies one part of the repeated Open Meetings Act violations.”

He said, “At last Wednesdays CCRC workshop the road commissioners would not recognize me asking a question on topic and also failed to provide any public comment, clearly a violation of the Open Meetings Act.  This was despite the fact the CCRC Attorney was present giving input and direction on the topics discussed.”

In another matter and after a public hearing before the regular meeting Tuesday, the board adopted a resolution to change the township’s rubbish assessment from $110 annually to $144.

Mrs. Mapes objected to the increase during the public hearing. “One of my containers is missing and this is a 30 percent increase in the rate,” she said. She added, “I think this should be put out for bids.”

The Township had approved a new contract with American Waste, who has been the current provider for the service.

Dysinger responded to her concerns saying, “This is the first increase in four years.” He cited the increased costs including fuel, and the additional services American Waste offers. “As a board we have been very satisfied with American Waste.”

Township Treasurer Tammy Shea noted that the increase was only from $2.11 to $2.50 a week or just $12 a month for township residents. She said she had only had two complaints about the increase.

Harmon noted, “Their service is excellent and their price is fair.”

Other business at the meeting included:
*A reminder that the July Board of Review meeting “not an appeals meeting,” Dysinger said, would be held on Tuesday the 16th at 4 p.m. “This is just for clerical errors and corrections,” he added.

*Dysinger also reported that all of the planned roadwork for this year is complete except for Dover Road from Old U.S. 27 to Grant Road.

*The board approved a new one-year agreement with Blue Flame Propane for the Township Hall at a rate of $1.199 per gallon.

*The board approved bills totaling $34,730.38 for the month.
The next regular meeting of Grant Township will be August 13 at 7 p.m.

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