Webber Township plans suit against Village of Baldwin, DDA
WEBBER TWP. — In a unanimous vote during the Webber Township Board meeting on Thursday, board members approved moving forward with a lawsuit against the Village of Baldwin over actions regarding the Downtown Development Authority.
For the past several months, there has been contention between the Village of Baldwin and the townships involved in the DDA district — Webber and Pleasant Plains townships — who were opposed to extending the life of the DDA to 2038. Village council members approved extending the mandate of the DDA during their council meeting on Monday.
DDA bonds were scheduled to be paid off by 2020 and the life of the DDA was set to expire in 2024. Webber Township asked the village to let the contract expire as scheduled to allow renegotiation terms such as the township’s fire millage being captured by the DDA and other terms.
“We are moving forward with a lawsuit against the Village of Baldwin/DDA,” said Webber Township Supervisor Ernie Wogatzke, adding that under the advice of legal council, the township cannot disclose details at this time. “It is my opinion there was no reason the village had to renew the life of the DDA six years early. Even if bonds are paid, the masterplan has to be completed as well in order for the DDA to expire, according to what I’ve read in Public Act 1975 No. 197.”
The township approved spending $2,500 for their attorney to draft the complaint and $180 per hour to move forward.
When asked if the lawsuit would be worth the money, Anthony Gagliardo, the township’s representative on the DDA said $480,000 would be captured from the township until the life of the DDA expires in 2038, adding it will be cheaper to pursue legal action.
During the county commissioner report, John Brunn gave an update on some of the issues in the county including concerns about a potential shortage of employees at Lake County Central Dispatch.
“We have gone through 21 people in four years including nine people last year alone,” Brunn said.
“The shortage of workers may force our dispatch to go to another county,” Sheriff Rich Martin added to the discussion. “You guys pay millage money for 911 and it needs to stay here to keep jobs in Lake County and for officers’ safety issues. If it goes to another county, the dispatchers wouldn’t know the lay of the land like the employees here. I don’t think there has been enough steps to get new people hired. I recommended three dispatchers with good qualifications and none of them received interviews.”
In other business:
• The board approved $1,100 to have three planning commission members and a zoning boards of appeals member to take an online planning class.
• The board approved accepting the medical marijuana zoning ordinance presented by the Webber Township Planning Commission.
• It was announced the planning commission voted to accept a site plan review for a new business in the township, RNR Trailer on M-37.
• Board members adopted a resolution for a new poverty exemption application.
• Board members approved spending $1,300 to start a township web page with $300 per year for website maintenance. Treasurer Pat Williams will be administrator over the website.