11-24-2016 Watervliet Twp. given update on Lane Automotive state grant projections; “Bill” Hodge swo

COLOMA JUNIOR HIGH’S 38TH ANNUAL TURKEY TROT… is a mile long run/walk. All 6th grade students participate in the trot for a health/PE grade. It is optional for 7th and 8th graders. The goal is to promote healthy living while enjoying the surroundings and maybe even win a turkey, chicken or Cornish hen. The winners in 6th grade that took home the birds are: Brodie McQuillan, Sklar Wolfe, Kaleb Smith-Mwewe, Hannah Grenon, Camryn Brown and Brianna Loomis. 7th grade winners are: Ashton Allmon, Ethan Vander-molen, Jake Ickes, Ava Genovese, Taylor Brown and Chloe Williams. 8th grade winners are: Shane Sher-burn, Noah Schwanke, Cody Palgen, Abby Vandermolen, Grace Whitaker and Maurissa LaGrow.

COLOMA JUNIOR HIGH’S 38TH ANNUAL TURKEY TROT… is a mile long run/walk. All 6th grade students participate in the trot for a health/PE grade. It is optional for 7th and 8th graders. The goal is to promote healthy living while enjoying the surroundings and maybe even win a turkey, chicken or Cornish hen. The winners in 6th grade that took home the birds are: Brodie McQuillan, Sklar Wolfe, Kaleb Smith-Mwewe, Hannah Grenon, Camryn Brown and Brianna Loomis. 7th grade winners are: Ashton Allmon, Ethan Vander-molen, Jake Ickes, Ava Genovese, Taylor Brown and Chloe Williams. 8th grade winners are: Shane Sher-burn, Noah Schwanke, Cody Palgen, Abby Vandermolen, Grace Whitaker and Maurissa LaGrow.


Watervliet Twp. given update on Lane Automotive state grant projections; Lane Automotice invested

$17 million and created 41 jobs so far in expansion

By Annette Christie

The Watervliet Township Board held a public hearing at their Monday, November 21 meeting to get an update on the Lane Automotive CDBG Grant. Cindy LaGrow, Economic Development Consultant and Certified Grant Administrator reminded the Board and the public that the State of Michigan and Watervliet Township helped make the grant available in 2014. Lane promised a large invested expansion and the creation of 138 jobs over a period of time.  LaGrow reported that as of August they have created 41 jobs and invested over $17 million dollars.  They employ 259 employees so far, and per the grant agreement they pay their employees at least $18 an hour, however, LaGrow said the average wage is $23.15 per hour.

Lane Automotive has spent $908,000 in training of the new 41 employees, training costs of which $633,344 will be reimbursed because they have met all of the milestones so far.  Lane will continue to invest more funds and will create 51 more jobs by August 2017 to complete all the requirements.  LaGrow said another public hearing will be held at the conclusion of that milestone.  Clerk Patt Bambrick confirmed that the Township has now received reimbursement for all costs incurred.  LaGrow reminded the Board that they were in competition with the State of Tennessee for this project but with the help of the State of Michigan’s grant program and Watervliet Township’s partnership, Lane Automotive invested in this area and its residents.  There were no questions by either the Board or the public during the public hearing.

With the completion of the public hearing the Township had some documentation that had to be approved to comply with what is required of them by the grant.  Because the CDBG covers Fair Housing, the Township had to put a Fair Housing Ordinance in place.  At this time the first reading of the ordinance was held.   The Board also updated their procurement policy and equal opportunity employment policy to be more in line with what was required by the State. The Board also approved an ADA self evaluation sheet.   The State of Michigan will be coming into Township Hall in December to review the grant file and to ensure compliance.

Use of Township Hall

  During the communication portion of the meeting, Bambrick shared a letter from the Paw Paw Lake Association requesting the use of the Township Hall to hold their monthly meetings. The meetings are held on a Saturday morning. The Board concurred with the request.

Berrien County Board of Commissioners

  County Commissioners Jon Hinkelman (representing Watervliet Township south of M-140) and Bill Smith (representing Watervliet Township north of M-140) provided an update of activities at the county level.  They reminded the Township that they are seeking input from municipalities on a proposed amendment to the Berrien