08-24-2017 Watervliet Township officials considering rule changes to help keep properties in good c

UNPLANNED LANDING… A Benton Harbor man had to make an emergency landing on the Paw Paw Lake Golf Course on Sunday afternoon when the engine quit on his experimental aircraft. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Water-vliet Police Department and Medic 1 Ambulance Service responded to the call to assist Larry Crowder, who was not injured. There were no other passengers on the aircraft. There was some damage to the nose wheel. Crowder told police that he had left South Haven Airport around noon, circled the Watervliet Airport and was heading back to the Southwest Michigan Airport in Benton Harbor when the engine stopped working, forcing him to land. The Federal Aviation Administration was provided with the information about the crash, as required. It was reported that there was some damage to Hole 1 on the golf course. (TCR photo by Karl Bayer)

Watervliet Township officials considering rule changes to help keep properties in good condition

By Annette Christie

Watervliet Township Supervisor Dan Hutchins asked the township board at their Monday, August 21 meeting to consider some rules changes that will help keep their parks and cemeteries in better shape and easier to maintain.

Hutchins has been working with Zoning Administrator Bob Lohr and Ordinance Enforcement Officer Diana Householder on the proposed changes and will be making some recommendation for free standing signage that will make it easier to see and read.

Hutchins hopes to have some prices at the next meeting for the replacement signs, six in all.  Hutchins said he has been looking at a lot of cemeteries and especially noted the Coloma Cemetery. “They should be very proud, place is pristine. They   have rules posted and it is very nice,” Hutchins said.  Hutchins said they might receive some pushback with some of the changes but all of the changes will be to improve the ease of maintenance in the cemeteries.

As for the parks, Hutchins said that the trash is a problem and almost every day someone has to be sent down to the parks to clean them up after people.  He said the list of current rules is too long and they need to be condensed.  It is expected that the board will take action on this at their next meeting.

The board also approved the agreement to obtain a loan for the purchase of a fire truck.  Joint Watervliet Fire Chief Dan Jones said that this is the next vehicle planned in the acquisition to bring the equipment level up to par. Jones said that this truck was taken into consideration with not only what their needs are, but took the neighbors’ needs in consideration as well. “A considerable amount of forethought was used in coming to the decision of purchasing the new Pumper Tanker with 3,000 gallons of water tank size,” Jones said.

Jones said the last time they purchased a new vehicle they were able to borrow from the township and the city to do that. This time however that option was not available.  They did however secure a 2.69% interest loan for a six-year term from a local financial institution.  In obtaining the loan and being able to pay for the truck in full, they will receive a $12,500 discount.

Jones said that this will replace three trucks; one they will be selling which in turn will help to pay off part of the loan.  Clerk Patt Bambrick who serves on the Fire Board said she was comfortable that they will be able to make that other truck pay off.  Jones added, “This is a good sound financial investment for the community.”

County Commissioner Dave Vollrath reported that he and six other commissioners from Berrien County just got back from a trip to Washington, D.C.  On the trip, designated for Michigan County Commissioners only, they were able to meet with several members of the presidential administration and discuss topics of particular interest to our state.  Vollrath said there were between 50-60 commissioners there. Vollrath said, “This is the first time any presidential administration has invited local governments to come and meet one on one with federal officials,” adding, “We also got a tour of the White House. I think we got a lot out of it.”

Vollrath reminded those in attendance that there was one public hearing held this week and another one scheduled for the purposes of commenting to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners on the possibility of taking over the Road Commission.  He said that the second public hearing will be held on Thursday, September 7 at 6:00 p.m. This meeting will take place at the Berrien County Administration Center, 701 Main Street, St. Joseph.