There are three meetings this week and this blog will concern ONLY the Board of Trustees. I did give a link to the township website for ZBA and Safety Paths. As always, it is very important to review the Board of Trustees - Board Packet for Feb. 11, 2013 for the details of each agenda item. It is a PDF file that is 102 pages, with each agenda item easily identified. My blog is just a snapshot of that information and my opinions.
- Monday, February 11 @ 7 PM is Bl. Twp. Board of Trustees
- Tuesday, February 12 @ 7 PM is Bl. Twp. Zoning Board of Appeals
- Wednesday, February 13 @ 9 AM @ Bl. Twp. Hall is a Study Session on Safety Paths
The AGENDA is found at the end of this blog or click here.
There are two PUBLIC HEARINGS for the opportunity for the public to voice their opinion on the topic before the Board takes final action.
- The Life Time Fitness proposed building is at the final site plan review phase including the associated lot split request for parking. Site and building plans are in the board packet for review. This proposal has already been to ZBA for many variances and will be at Tuesday's ZBA meeting for another variance for a temporary sales office trailer to be on site. My opinion: This project is a prime example of how many exceptions to the rules and ordinances the township is willing to grant via the Design Review Board, the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. If the Township seven elected Board likes the project...it's practically a done deal as the developer wishes. If the project isn't a "favorite", it almost seems as if every "shall" in every ordinance becomes important and must be met or studies needed often causing much expense, delays and sometimes even a cancellation of the project. Bloomfield Park comes to mind as does a Sonic restaurant. Occasionally, public comments do make a difference, but the public needs to be involved from the very beginning.
- The Special Assessment District (S.A.D.) to REPAVE the ENTIRE SUBDIVISION ROADS in this particular area (see agenda #3). This issue concerns only those properties affected....or so it seems. How it affects ALL township residents is that the township leadership has made an agreement with Oakland County Road Commission (see agenda #5 in the board packet) to allow for special circumstances for repaving roads in the TOWNSHIP. By the County rules, one must get 51% of the properties/lineal footage of EACH ROAD to agree to the repaving...or it is a NO GO. Getting 51% or more to agree to spend money to repave the road has been a difficult process in the past. Many would rather have sections just patched. Now, by the new Township/County agreement, the subdivision as a whole may get 51% of the property owners/lineal footage to sign the petition for repaving all subdivision roads. This could mean that zero or less than 51% of property owners on some individual roads signed the petition... but will have their road repaved anyway and will owe the thousands of dollars assessed to do so. My opinion: This "new agreement" to "help" the subdivisions get ALL their roads repaved at the same time puts undue financial burden on many homeowners living on a street that may not need repaving for many years. Majority rule in this "special" Township agreement with Oakland County has benefits and flaws. Bloomfield Township is the only township in the entire state of Michigan that has their OWN road department. Think: $$$$ Think: What if more gas taxes and fees are approved in the state? How will this new tax money collected by the state benefit the township residents if Oakland County does NOT take care of township roads?
- Agenda items 4 & 5 are related to the S.A.D. issue discussed in agenda #2. The Township will need to sell bonds to pay for the repaving, with the property owners in the S.A.D. paying the assessed amount for the next 15 years. The other agenda item is the "agreement" between the County and the Township permitting entire subdivision petitions vs single road petitions for repaving projects. Read the details in the board packet. My opinion: I think both items should have been an agenda item BEFORE any other discussions with the homeowners and the creation of the S.A.D. Is this agreement what the taxpayers really want?
- Agenda item # 6... a sanitary sewer extension.. really set off some bells for me. The board packet simply mentions that a "builder" made contact with the Township wanting a sewer instead of septic system for the new home to be built. Notice: no name of builder. The board packet mentions that 5 other properties are currently on septic systems, but may need or want to connect to the sewer in the future. Notice: no property addresses for those five locations were given. The board packet indicates that the township provided engineering and the bidding out the contract and wishes to award the contract at this meeting. Your tax dollars. The construction cost to be paid by the township and reimbursed by those that connect to the sewer (when? and who? but not recorded here "on the record" or as a S.A.D. ?). My opinion: Why isn't there a petition from the six homes needing a sewer with 51% approval needed and the forming of a S.A.D. to identify the responsible properties and to arrange for the repayment of the costs to the township ON THE RECORD? Why the different treatment for some taxpayers? When some on my street wanted sewers, we could not get enough signatures to make it a go. In a different situation, someone else in my subdivision got permission from the township to put in a private sewer to his new home being built on a different road. That sewer line went past about 4 other homes. Those homeowners had no say in the project, saw no bids, but now have an approximately $20,000 bill IF or WHEN those homeowners want to connect to the private...now township owned sewer. There is/was no S.A.D. arrangement then with a 10-15 year agreement to pay. Was this special treatment then? YES. Was it fair? NO. Does this agenda item sound like special treatment? My opinion, YES again. This item should be TABLED and petitions circulated. According to the township website:
Special Assessment Districts (SAD)Public water mains and sanitary sewers are typically extended to serve established neighborhoods by means of the special assessment process. The Engineering and Environmental Services Department provides petitions with cost estimates for future water and sewer extensions in the planning phase of creating a Special Assessment District (SAD).
- Agenda item # 7 is Payroll and Vouchers. My opinion: Why are those numbers and figures NOT shown to the taxpayers? They are not on the website and not in the board packet. Where is open and transparent government in Bloomfield Township?
- Included in the Board Packet for this meeting is the January 2013 Police Report. This is NOT an agenda item to be discussed but for your review. My opinion: If you have any questions about this police report or anything else of concern, I suggest you address the Board during the Public Comment agenda item # 8. You will have 3 minutes to speak. The Board may or may not answer or respond to your comment/question. Why? Again, in my opinion, if you waited throughout the meeting to address the Board, the least they could do is respond. The meeting is recorded and archived on the web and can be watched live on TV Comcast Cable 15 or streamed on your computer.