Elk Township requests additional ORV enforcemnet

New fire station plans underway

IRONS – ORV traffic continues to be an issue in Lake County. The Lake County board of commissioners has asked for input from township officials regarding the issues they are experiencing.

During a meeting of the Elk Township board of trustees on Dec. 8, supervisor Lou Fitz informed the board that a letter was sent to the Lake County clerk, Patti Pacola, informing the commissioners what the township would like to see come out of the upcoming ORV meetings.

The ORV committee is set to begin meeting in January to discuss any updates to the county’s ORV map, which designates on which roads ORV traffic is allowed throughout the county. The finalized map will be approved in February.

Fitz said in the letter the township board would like to continue to permit ORV use of the roads in the township but only if something can be done about ordinance violations.

“Through our observations, we perceive the main violations to be speeding, ripping around and tearing up the gravel roads with donuts in the intersections and the unnecessary strain of tires causing deep ruts,” Fitz said in the letter. “If violations of the ORV ordinance continue, we will strongly consider opting out.”

Fitz said he believes the problem is that there is not enough law enforcement available to deal with the violations.

“One recreation officer is not enough to adequately cover the entire county,” he said.

The letter stated that the township is aware that, due to COVID-19, additional grant funds for law enforcement are no longer available, and they are recommending the county provide the necessary funds to the Sheriff’s department for an additional officer.

“Lake County is receiving revenue sharing funds from the state, and a portion of these funds needs to be provided to the law enforcement,” Fitz said. “We hope the board of commissioners will support funding additional law enforcement to curtail the violations we are experiencing in our township. We believe more cops on the beat provides townships with safer streets.”

The ORV committee is planning to meet in January and bring in all stakeholders to discuss the issues and voice their concerns before the ORV map is finalized.

In other business, the board approved a resolution to enter into a loan agreement between the township and the Sauble-Elk-Eden Townships Joint Building Authority to finance the architectural design for the new fire station.

According to the resolution, Elk township agrees to pay a total of $29,000 to help fund the architectural design, and will be reimbursed once bond proceeds are received.

“Each of the three townships will provide funds for architectural fees until the bond can be sold,” Fritz said. “Elk Township has the largest taxable value, so they will pay the higher amount.”

The agreement is for the first payment of $11,000 to be paid in December, with an additional payment of $11,000 in January and payments of $5,700 in February and March.

In August, voters approved a millage of 0.8956 mills to cover the cost of constructing the new fire station.

“We hope to be able to award a contractor for the project in February, then begin the bond sales in mid-February,” Fitz said. “Construction is planned to begin in May and compelted in December of 2021.”

The proposed new fire station will replace the department’s existing two stations, which are said to be in deteriorating condition and do not have enough room to house equipment and vehicles.

Also during the meeting, trustee Dave Bass, liaison to the Big Bass/Little Bass Property Owners Association told the board that the association board has approved the contractual plans proposed by PLM Lake and Land Management, including treatment, cost, structure and management of the lake for 7 years.

“There is a tremendous amount of ways to get out of the contract, it has a lot of opened ends, so that is the reasoning behind the seven years,” Bass said. “We will start the process after the first of the year.”

The board also voted to continue the 2022 to 2028 SAD at the current amount of $132 per parcel, he said.

The board of trustees approved a resolution to initiate the SAD process during its meeting on Sept. 9.

“The current SAD expires in 2021 and a new SAD must be created,” Fitz said. “That takes three or four months to go through the process, so we will start that after the first of the year.”