Residents reach their boiling point on water issue

By Megan Decker
Staff Writer
DENMARK TOWNSHIP — Emotions soared high during Denmark Township’s regular meeting on Monday night as scores of residents spoke out in opposition to the new water distribution system.
Approximately 100 residents gathered at the township hall Monday evening with some wrapping out the door before the meeting was adjourned and moved to the Richville American Legion Hall to reconvene.
The meeting followed a public hearing two weeks ago in which several property owners within the Special Assessment Water Project A – 2010 Water Distribution System expressed objection. This will provide a municipal water system to 130 parcels in Denmark Township and roughly 20 in Gilford Township.
Nearly half of the residents in attendance on Monday spoke up and opposed the planned project with the others applauding after their remarks. Many of the residents asked the board to reconsider their plans and listen to the residents’ concerns. Other residents voiced concern over the cost and lack of information over the course of the last two years.
Some residents expressed the possibility of seeking assistance from the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
The total project for the water distribution system will cost $16,900 per residence and can be paid for up front. Otherwise, the cost will spread over a 40 year term with an interest rate of 3.75 percent. Each assessed parcel would have to pay approximately $825 a year for 40 years.
“In the minutes from two years ago, the public hearing drew opposition from less than 12 people,” Petro told the Advertiser earlier this month. “When I left that hearing my board met me in the parking lot and said ‘wow’ that was a great meeting, there was a lot of public support.’
“I thought there was overwhelming support within the district. At the time, it seemed like a good thing to do.”
Currently, the township is in the process of securing funding for the project and township officials plan to discuss the project with several entities later this month. Board members will discuss the issue further at their next regular meeting, Denmark Township supervisor Don Petron explained at the meeting.
Among other action, the township board set its operating millage rate at 1.4518 mills. The board also set the Denmark Township Special Fire Assessment at 1.0 mills and the Vassar Area Ambulance Service Assessment at .5 mills. The board also adopted its 2012-13 proposed budget.
The township board also extended its Medical Marijuana Moratorium an additional two months and its Wind Energy Moratorium an additional six months. The township’s planning commission will meet at 6 p.m. on July 10 to discuss ordinances on the issues.
Denmark Township will be meeting again at their regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on July 30 in the Denmark Township Hall.

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