Township to reimburse $88,653 by BETH ALTENA The Plainfield Township Board in July voted to reimburse the Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) $88,400 the commission invested in an approved widening of Belmont Road that was later cancelled. The KCRC in 2009 proposed the project, which was to be funded mainly by $900,000 in federal grants and also by $200,000 kicked in by the township. After the KCRC had spent over $100,000 on the project, an upwelling of disapproval for the widening caused the board in 2010 to rescind their approval of the project. Township Manager Robert Homan said the KCRC asked to be reimbursed for $106,000 they had spent in good faith after the roadwork was improved, noting they had invested in field surveys, design, permits, staking and acquisition of roadway from residents with homes on the road. The township counter-proposed to reimburse the road commission $41,617 of the non-recoverable costs and pledged to pay $25,000 this year toward upkeep of the stretch of road and $21,000 in the future for the same purpose. The total reimbursement under the agreement from the township to the commission would total $88,653. Trustee Vic Matthews said, “Under the circumstances, we’ve got us a pretty good deal. They could have charged us considerably more.” Trustee Jack Hagedorn expressed concern over how the reversal came about. “Something was wrong with the process. After the final vote there was a huge groundswell of disapproval. Somewhere along the way there was a disconnect.” He said he is glad, as Vic was, that $46,000 would go toward the upkeep of Belmont, which until recently was plagued with potholes. Treasurer Jim Stover was philosophical about the deal. “We made an agreement to be part of the project in 2009 to the tune of $200,000. A year later we changed our mind. I think paying out $88,400 is a good commitment on our part to resolve this and put it to bed.” Trustee Charles Weldon was also for the payment and noted that all the people who were paid for easements were asked to return the money since the widening of the road was cancelled, removing the need for the easement. He said not a single one of the residents who were paid had returned […]
Twelve residents interested in serving township In the vacancy left by Trustee Rebecca Borek’s resignation from the Plainfield Township Board, a field of twelve candidates has been narrowed to two and a vote on the appointee will take place at the August 2 regular meeting. Residents Ken Chester, Jim Idema, Kimberly Bryant, Jeanne Herlacher, Thomas Cable, Cynthia Vincent, Cathy Bottema, Gordan Oosterhouse, Ruth Karnes, Robert DeLand, Timothy Beals and Jay Spencer all applied for the position prior to the deadline. According to Trustee Vic Matthews, the board is required by law to fill the position within 45 days. After interviews beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, July 18, the board had narrowed their initial choice of four residents to two. Cathy Bottema and Gordan Oosterhouse are the two remaining candidates after Jay Spencer and Cynthia Vincent were eliminated from the final choices. “We had many very qualified candidates,” said Township Supervisor George Meek. He said the field of highly talented individuals made the choice very difficult. Borek resigned last month. Matthews called Borek a very intelligent and highly thought of person who has contributed much to the township during her years of service. “She will be missed,” he said. Matthews said Borek had sited personal reasons for her departure and had asked her resignation to be accepted on June 6. The board did not accept her resignation until June 20 to give them more time to find her replacement. “She is leaving on the best of terms,” Matthews stated.
The Charter Township of Plainfield announced recently that it has expanded its suit against Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to include a claim for the full value of its water treatment plant and the cost of any removal of the water softening residuals in the Coit Avenue pit—a total sum that could exceed $20 million. At the MDEQ’s specific suggestion and with its encouragement and approval, the water treatment plant was redesigned and rebuilt in the late 1980s and early 1990s to use the Coit Avenue pit for the nonhazardous lime residuals that are produced by the softening of municipal water. After 18,000 tons of the material has been deposited in the pit over the ensuing 20 years, the MDEQ changed its mind in 2009 and decided that the gravel pit was a “state lake” and insisted that the plant be redesigned and rebuilt and that all residuals in the pit be removed—a joint project that could top $20 million in cost. After extended negotiations with the state broke down in August 2009, the township sued the MDEQ in Kent County Circuit Court, seeking to enjoin it from changing its mind in light of the township’s reliance on the MDEQ’s long-standing, previous position. The recent expansion of the suit to include a claim for damages was made by the township after the state argued that the Kent County Circuit Court could not enjoin the MDEQ, but could only award the township damages. “We had no real choice but to sue,” noted the township’s supervisor, George Meek. “We cannot let our residents and residents in neighboring townships that rely on the plant for water absorb the totally unnecessary costs of rebuilding our plant—especially in these trying economic times. Now, because of the state’s own strategy, we have no real choice but to ask for an injunction, or in the alternative, millions of dollars from the state in damages.” The state itself estimated that the changes it is requesting will cost each family served by the plant over $120 each year forever. “That’s worth fighting over, especially when nothing is to be gained environmentally,” said Robert Homan, the township’s manager. “We have had environmental studies performed and, as the MDEQ itself expected in the 1980s and […]
Sheriff’s Department asks for help identifying suspect On October 26, a 23-year-old Grand Rapids woman had her wallet stolen while she was frequenting a business in Plainfield Township. Several hours after the theft, the suspect used the victim’s debit card at a local bank and withdrew money from her account. The suspect’s picture was captured during the transaction. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who could potentially identify this suspect to please call (616) 632-6434 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.