Erich T. Doerr | Review Correspondent
During its meeting on Monday the Clare County Board of Commissioners was presented with information from several sources outside the board. The topics covered in these community presentations ranged from wood chippers to a money issue in Grant Township.
One of the hottest topics of the day was a public hearing about Terex, a multi-national corporation which purchased the Farwell-based Woodsman Chippers Products and has continued production in Clare County. At the meeting the presentation was given by Kathy Methner of the Middle Michigan Development Corporation regarding a Renaissance Zone Application by Terex.
Methner said basically the goal of the application was to officially transfer the ownership of its Renaissance Zone position in Farwell from Woodsman to Terex. She added the change is part of the beginnings of an expansion project by Terex for more wood chipper manufacturing in the area.
Terex is a company that makes all kinds of equipment ranging from boom lifts all the way up to heavy duty mining dump trucks. Data presented during the meeting said the company already has 46 employees at the Farwell site for chipper construction.
“They are quite diverse,” Methner said of the company’s various business.
The board approved of the change with several expressing support for Terex’ actions in the area. According to Commissioner Lynn Grim Woodsman was failing before Terex bought it.
“We would have lost the jobs we have,” Grim said.
Board member Karen Lipovsky added the company plans to double its number of employees in the upcoming expansion. Now approved by the county the application still needs to be approved by the Village of Farwell and the state.
The hearing with Methner was followed later in the meeting by with discussion with Clare County Community Development and Senior Services director Lori Ware pertaining to granting permission to apply for a block grant to fund the demolition of three houses.
According to Ware before the houses can be demolished the county must perform studies regarding the possible environmental effects of the projects and also do a historic preservation review on the structures.
“It’ll take a little time but it’ll be worth it,” Ware said.
The board made a motion on the issue and approved it. Ware said she plans to have a public hearing on the issue at the next board meeting adding in general it should take about six weeks to demolish the houses.
One of last issues tackled during the meeting was a letter from Grant Township to Clare County Administrator Tracy Byard who discussed it with the board. According to the letter from Grant Township Supervisor Dan Dysinger regarding policing services from the Sheriff’s Office Grant is both rejecting a new contract and terminating extra patrol services effective after December 31. The bone of contention according to Dysinger is an overcharge of $4,467.75 for those services over the period from August 2011 to June 2012 which the township would like refunded.
Board member Leonard Strouse attended the Grant Township meeting where the decision was made to send that letter. He said that board voted 4-1 to ask for the money back.
“I’m not anxious to get into a contest with Grant Township,” Strouse said. “I don’t think it’s worth a whole lot of energy.”
Board chairperson Donald David recommended just paying the money. He said he believed Grant would press hard for it otherwise, possibly with legal action. Board member Lynn Grim was displeased with the letter.
“There was an agreement,” Grim said. “I think their letter is ill will.”
Byard said she had not talked to the Sheriff’s Office yet on this issue.