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New fire truck near delivery

GRANT TWP. – A two-year process to replace an aging fire truck is nearly over for the Grant Township Fire Department.

Fire Chief Roland Brooks told the township board at its Oct. 1 meeting that the new truck should be ready in a couple of weeks.

The cost of the new 2,000 gallon tanker will be $313,814.16, and the township board voted that night to pay $60,000 from the general fund toward that cost, and to borrow the remaining $181,000 over five years. The township had already paid a $46,335 downpayment to CSI Emergency Apparatus, LLC of Grayling for the truck. The township had already purchased a Freightliner cab and chassis, on which to place the apparatus for $87,309.

The township had earlier approved the additional payment from the general fund for an air fitting and electric receptacles for nearly $2,000.

Brooks said the fire department, using money obtained through fundraisers, will pay $2,300 for additional shelves on the truck.

Trustee Jim Aebig made the motion to pay $60,000 from the general fund and to borrow the $181,000 with five equal annual payments.

That motion passed unanimously by the five-member board.

Brooks said he hoped the truck would be ready the week of October 14 when he would be trained on it. The fire chief said CSI Emergency Apparatus has been good to work with. The township board approved a contract with CSI last November.

That wasn’t the case for an earlier contractor for the fire truck. The township had selected ETankers of Grand Ledge for building the apparatus. The township submitted a $39,234 downpayment and waited nine months for the work to start before retrieving the cab and chassis and searching for another company to build the truck.

Brooks, at the Oct. 1 meeting, told the board the township will not get the downpayment to E-Tankers back.

Andy Roberts / By Andy Roberts Beacon Staff Writer 

By Andy Roberts/Beacon Staff Writer

Reeths-Puffer High School seniors Trina Lewis and Daven Fox were crowned 2019 Homecoming Queen and King at post-game ceremonies Friday night, Oct. 4. The Rocket football team made it a night to celebrate as it defeated Greenville 42-7

Whitehall hire engineers for street improvements

WHITEHALL – “A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to,” Whitehall City Manager Scott Huebler told the council when presenting the street improvement planned for next year.

The council, at its Sept. 24 meeting, approved a contract for professional services with Prein@Newhof for engineering of the projects scheduled for 2020.

The improvement plan includes seven one-block sites which will include paving on all sites and drainage improvements at two of the sites.

Council member Dick Connell asked Huebler what the schedule of work will be and if any of the work will be done this fall.

“We will bid all of them out with one contract and one contractor,” Huebler answered. The work will be done in 2020. The schedule will be determined by the contractor and what work is needed.

“Collier (W. Collier Dr.) is out of the norm,” Huebler explained “There will be some significant storm water improvements in that section.”

The contract with Prein&Newhof includes a fee not to exceed $137,900.

The budgeted amount for the street (capital) improvements is estimated at $798,100, including a 15% construction contingency. The engineering costs will come from a $419,479 balance in the Capital Improvement Fund Balance.

Prein&Newhof will provide design and construction engineering services, bidding assistance and construction contract administration.

The description of the projects scheduled for 2020 are:

• West Collier Drive, between East Collier Drive and Country Club: Improve drainage at the south end by running a new storm sewer north to Country Club and a new storm outlet on Country Club to White Lake, replace existing 2” diameter galvanized water main with 8” diameter ductile iron water main.

• Carlton St., north of Country Club: Improve drainage on Carlton with a new storm sewer form the north end to Country Club and tied into the same storm outlet for West Collier Drive, patch and overlay Carlton and Country Club.

• Benston Rd., S. Mears Ave. to Division St.: Mill and fill existing pavement with new hot mix asphalt pavement (top course only).

• Baldwin St., Spring St. to Colby (in front of fire and police stations): Crush and shape existing asphalt pavement and repave with 2 lifts of hot mix asphalt.

• Baldwin St., Alice St. to Elliott St.: Crush and shape existing asphalt pavement and repave with 2 lifts of hot mix asphalt.

• Mohawk St.: Remove existing pavement and base, add aggregate base and repave with 2 lifts of hot mix asphalt.

• Alice St., Mears Ave. to Division St.: Mill and fill existing pavement with new hot mix asphalt pavement (top course only).

Voters to settle issue on marijuana businesses in city?

WHITEHALL – The City of Whitehall may let voters decide whether to allow medical and recreational marijuana facilities to locate in the city.

Council member Scott Brown, at last Tuesday’s (Oct. 8) council meeting, suggested the voters decide the issue

“Since it seems to be such a controversial issue is there anyway that could be moved to where it was done of an election of the people of the city rather than the seven of us deciding it,” Brown asked. “I don’t think seven people (city council) should decide something that, apparently from comments that we’ve had, both for and against it (sic). He suggested it be deferred to the next election. “We’ve already said before why rush the issue to begin with,” Brown added.

The council has deferred voting on the amended draft ordinances for a month because one of the council members was absent from each of the last two council meeting, and the council did not want to consider the controversial issue without a complete board present.

City Manager Scott Huebler and City Attorney Rodger Sweeting said the issues could be placed on the next scheduled election next spring.

A resolution to place the ordinances on the ballot can come from the council, or could come from a citizen referendum if enough signatures were obtained on petitions.

Council member Dick Connell, who has stated he is opposed to having marijuana facilities in the city, said he wants a decision made soon.

“One way or another I would like to wrap this up at our next meeting (Oct. 22),” Connell said. “ I don’t want to drag it out past the (Nov. 5) election unless that’s what we decide to do.”

Huebler said the council, at its next meeting, could consider three propositions. Two would be resolutions for council approval of the two ordinances (medical and recreational), or a resolution to place it on the ballot for the next election.

The city council and planning commission have been considering the issue for nearly a year after Michigan voters, last November, voted to allow the use, cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana.

Currently the city imposed a ban on recreational marijuana facilities, and has not allowed medical marijuana facilities previously by not taking action to approve them.

During the past year the city council charged the planning commission to study the issue. The planners presented draft ordinances for medical and recreational marijuana facilities July 23.

Those draft ordinances called for no cap on the number of licenses, but allowing the market to drive the number of license applications. Also, the planners voted to allow marijuana provisioning facilities in the General Business, Central Business, Restricted Commercial and Lakefront Recreation Business districts. The Central and General Business districts are located on Colby St. (BR-31). Restricted Commercial is also located on Colby in a three-block area (Livingston St. to Franklin St.). Lakefront Recreation is located on portions of Lake St. and S. Mears Ave.

Following public comment on the draft ordinances which included support and opposition to having marijuana facilities in the city, the council asked the city administration and attorney to modify the ordinances to limit the number and locations for marijuana facilities.

The modified draft ordinances would limit the number of provisioning centers to three of each type (medical and recreational) and to prohibit them in the Lakefront Recreation and Restricted Commercial zoning districts.

Staff is recommending a $600 nonrefundable application fee for recreational marijuana facilities and $1,200 for medical. An approved license will cost $5,000 as the state allows.

Greg Means / By Greg Means Beacon Editor 

By Greg Means/Beacon Editor

Flashing warning lights for a school speed zone were installed Monday morning in front of Whitehall High School on White Lake Drive. The school zone reduces the speed limit from 55 mph to 35 mph during the start and end of the school day. Crews from Windemuller Electric, the City of Whitehall and the Muskegon County Road Commission worked together to install the flashing lights and associated signage.