Pleasant Plains Township rejects Baldwin fire contract

PLEASANT PLAINS TWP. — During the Pleasant Plains Township board meeting on Monday, board members unanimously approved to not accept the Village of Baldwin fire contract as written. With the township's contract renewal up in December, the board has been looking into options for fire protection. The township residents currently pay a millage to fund the Baldwin Fire Department.

"The contract from the village is very similar to the one we always had with paying a full two mills in a period of 10 years," said Pleasant Plains Supervisor Tammy Ghent. "The difference is, they are asking for two payments instead of one."

Ronnette Hanna, treasurer for Pleasant Plains Township, said there is not ample time to make the March payment.

"The payment in March cannot happen," she said. "We have to allow time for non-sufficient funds and other preparations for the fiscal year."

The township had their attorney review the contract.

"We presented the proposal to our attorney and he recommend we do not accept it at this time. He feels it is flat-out one-sided and he is questioning where a lot of the money in the fire fund has gone, with the deficit in the pay for firefighters. Also, it doesn't appear that the village looked at our concerns. We haven't been listened to. This is where we are at," Ghent said.

Ghent made a motion for their attorney to draft a letter to the Village of Baldwin stating they do not accept the contract as written. The motion was approved by the board.

"We will not accept the contract as written, but there will be a plan B very soon," she said.

Also during the meeting, Ghent gave an update on the vacant Pleasant Plains Township Hall.

"The hall should be now listed for sale, and we have two parties interested in purchasing it," she said. "We have to work diligently to get it cleaned out."

The controlled burn of the old Cajun Bayou restaurant on the Wash King contamination site last month also was discussed.

Hanna said the site is now $3,000 cheaper since the building was burned last month.

With contaminants 30 feet deep in the ground from when the Wash King Laundromat was in operation, Pleasant Plains Zoning Administrator Robert Sanders said he is speaking with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on the next step.

"It will cost millions of dollars to clean the site," he said. "We are soliciting bids. The Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a study on possible reuse of the site, and we could get possible funds for that."

Lake County Commissioner Chris Balulis, during her report, said all the townships in the county need to take note of all the progress made at the Wash King site.

"It looks wonderful having the site cleaned up now," she said. "The Lake County treasurer really played an instrumental role with blight funding. Zoning administrator Robert Sanders and trustee Clint Jackson also worked tirelessly on the project."

In other business:

• During the planning commission report, the citizen committee for medical marijuana is waiting to get a response back from their attorney on the zoning ordinance.

• During the fire report, Baldwin Fire Chief Marty Walker said there has been 10 fire runs, and they did a structure burn at the Wash King site. He gave a report on a carbon monoxide leak at the Lake County Courthouse last Friday.

"It is very important people spend the money for carbon monoxide detectors, because it is odorless and tasteless, and in accumulated amounts, it is deadly," he said.

He said Baldwin firefighters also received certificates of recognition from Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant, last week for their service.