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Maple Valley Township residents make multiple votes at annual meeting  

“We have nothing to show for the wasted money except an (proposed wind) ordinance that is highly unpopular with residents and will likely become void after referendum,” [township resident Tyler] Trierweiler said. “You might as well have taken our money, put it in a box and burned it.” Trierweiler made a motion to change the professional services line item from $50,000 to $15,000 ($10,000 more than what was budgeted last year). This motion was seconded by township resident Mike Poulsen. “What happens if we need the lawyer and then there’s no money for it?” asked Anne Petersen, who is a member of the Planning Commission. “Why not leave it alone? It doesn’t mean we’re going to spend that much.” “I agree totally,” Schwandt responded. Trierweiler’s motion passed with a majority of “yes” votes from audience members, although at least several board members and a few audience members voted “no” (specific votes could not be heard as there was no roll call taken).

Credit:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 29, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~

MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP – Township residents took advantage of a chance to cast ballots at Saturday’s annual meeting.

Maple Valley Township residents voted to reduce proposed legal fees, to budget money for a cleanup day and to look into selling the old Trufant bus garage. Residents also voted to require all township officials who are being paid to attend the township’s annual meeting. Because Maple Valley Township has an annual meeting format once a year, residents are allowed to vote on certain items.

While last year’s annual meeting only attracted six residents and no public comment, Saturday’s meeting saw more than 30 people in attendance and multiple public comments – and votes.

Michigan’s Public Act 187 of 1988 eliminated the requirement that general law townships such as Maple Valley hold an annual meeting of the electors. However, if the township board adopts a resolution to hold an annual meeting and has not created a compensation commission, the electors at the annual meeting are authorized to set the salaries of the township supervisor, clerk and treasurer and trustees who are paid by salary, according to MCL 41.95.

The township board voted on Saturday to leave township board members’ annual salaries as is at the request of residents. The township board previously voted on Feb. 14 to leave Supervisor John Schwandt’s salary at $7,800 (listed as same in Saturday’s proposed budget), Clerk Cathy Benson’s salary at $15,000 (listed as $14,200 in Saturday’s budget), Treasurer June Miller’s salary as $11,500 (listed as $12,700 in Saturday’s budget) and $1,200 each for Trustees Ben Newell and Lee Frandsen (listed as same in Saturday’s budget).

According to MCL 41.8 regarding annual meetings, “The electors meeting at the place designated shall transact lawful business by majority vote.”

At the request of Pierson Township Treasurer Kathy Hyrns who was in attendance, Schwandt explained to audience members how the annual meeting works: “People can vote and make motions to change (budget) line items and move things around. If you’re a resident and a registered voter of Maple Valley Township, you can vote and make motions.”

The township board had proposed budgeting $50,000 in professional services for the coming year, including wind ordinance-related legal fees to their attorney.

“We’ve got a couple lawsuits going with the Veterans Park in Trufant and Fogelson Drive, and we’re still dealing with lawyers for the wind stuff,” Schwandt said. “We also have FOIA requests that are coming in left and right that we have to deal with. A lot of that stuff is just technical enough that it’s beyond our scope so we need a lawyer to work with us on it.”

“I didn’t know we could make motions,” township resident Tyler Trierweiler said. “I want to make a motion.”

Trierweiler noted the township only budgeted $5,000 on professional fees last year but ended up spending 10 times this amount (township officials contested this, saying they only spent $39,000 – not $50,000).

“We have nothing to show for the wasted money except an (proposed wind) ordinance that is highly unpopular with residents and will likely become void after referendum,” Trierweiler said. “You might as well have taken our money, put it in a box and burned it.”

Trierweiler made a motion to change the professional services line item from $50,000 to $15,000 ($10,000 more than what was budgeted last year). This motion was seconded by township resident Mike Poulsen.

“What happens if we need the lawyer and then there’s no money for it?” asked Anne Petersen, who is a member of the Planning Commission. “Why not leave it alone? It doesn’t mean we’re going to spend that much.”

“I agree totally,” Schwandt responded.

Trierweiler’s motion passed with a majority of “yes” votes from audience members, although at least several board members and a few audience members voted “no” (specific votes could not be heard as there was no roll call taken).

No money was budgeted for a township clean-up day in the coming year despite repeated requests for this from residents. Schwandt said he was sure Deputy Clerk Shirley Sanders had included this in the proposed budget, but after township officials and residents reviewed the budget, no one was able to find a line item for clean-up day.

Township resident Penny Bassett made a motion to budget money for a clean-up day, seconded by resident Jan Olson. Schwandt said he will budget $4,000 for one clean-up day, possibly two. Bassett’s motion passed with all “yes” votes.

Treasurer June Miller absent was absent from Saturday’s annual meeting, as were Zoning Administrator David Kelsey and Assessor Michael Beach, leading to township resident Vicki Douglas making a motion stating that all township officials who are paid are required to attend the annual meeting. The motion passed with all “yes” votes from everyone.

The Maple Valley Township Planning Commission will next meet at 7 p.m. on April 7 for a public hearing on a proposed wind ordinance.

The township board will next meet at 7 p.m. on April 11.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 29, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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