09-24-2020 Watervliet Township addresses controversy involving Fire Chief; Hearing canceled for mari

Watervliet Township addresses controversy involving Fire Chief; Hearing canceled for marijuana project in Industrial Park

By Joshua Coffin Watervliet Township Hall met for their monthly meeting held as a teleconference, due to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictions and suggestions in response to COVID-19, on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. The meeting, led by township clerk Patricia Bambrick, was met with a few technical difficulties at the start but eventually commenced to discuss matters regarding the Watervliet Fire Department chief and other township issues. Fire Chief As the issues unfold for the Watervliet Fire Department, the township board addressed Fire Chief Dan Jones’ involvement at the Monday night meeting. There have been allegations against Jones for ongoing verbal and physical assault, and altercations toward members of the Fire Department as well as questionable payroll transactions, underpaying some employees and overpaying others including him. See the Front Page story for more details.

Industrial Park public hearing The township board had further discussion in regards to the potential recreational marijuana grow facility coming to Watervliet Township. At this point, the project has been completely halted due to some misunderstandings. In this turn of events, it has been decided to cancel the public hearing discussing the grow facility planned for Sept. 29. Previously, it was believed that the township could opt in to only having a recreational grow facility. However, it was determined that they would have to fully opt in to recreational marijuana distribution and the grow facility altogether, there would be no separation between them. The primary reason for canceling the public hearing was because there was a misunderstanding as to what the focus of the meeting would have been. Mark Abdul, the head of the project, assumed the meeting would be to decide whether or not the facility would begin to be constructed. However, the public hearing was planned to see where the public stood on having a recreational grow facility at all. So, for the time being, there is no reason to expect recreational marijuana business to make its way into Watervliet Township. Finances The board approved the general ledger account of $2,342,288. They also approved the CD and Money Markets with $339,690.63, for a total of $2,681,978.63 for the township. Bills for the month of August were also approved with general bills at $87,740.97 and payroll at $17,531.92 for a grand total of $105,272.89 in payables. South Watervliet Drain Project There were light discussions on the South Watervliet Drain Project at the meeting. Mainly, a meeting with City Manager Tyler Dotson and other township representatives will most likely happen but has yet to be planned for the future of the project. There will be further information as time progresses.