Marquette Township Business Association Met at Perkins This Week

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Perkins Restaurant and Bakery – Marquette Township

Marquette Township  –  April 16, 2014  –  The Marquette Township Business Association (MTBA) met for their monthly meeting at Perkins this week. As always, lunch was good.

The Marquette Township Treasurer and Planner were present, and helped to make some decisions on beautification in the township sponsored by the MTBA. The MTBA would like to undertake beautification of the Township Welcome signs on the east and west ends of the US 41 corridor. This would include some significant monumenting with rock to elevate the sign and create room for flower beds.

The MTBA agreed the Planner could make some initial drawings for review at the next meeting. The Treasurer mentioned that there is money in the budget for beautification in the township, and that at least matching funds could be made available for the project.

Frank Stabile, President of the MTBA, offered an office at the Comfort Suites for an executive secretary as a contracted service. The position requires attendance at all monthly meetings with the executive board and board at general, as well as to possibly spend Tuesday afternoons, from noon to 4 pm on a laptop at the Comfort Suites with Frank overseeing the agenda, committees, current events, and making additional posts to the website.

This executive secretary would also handle membership drives and help with the collection of dues in November and December of each year. Additionally, the applicant would help coordinate new member First Dollar Presentations and PR postings on the website. Compensation would be $12 an hour, paid monthly at about $200 a month or $2400 a year for no more than 16 hours a month.

Township Treasurer, Ernie Johnson reported that water and sewer problems continue with 30-40 Let-Runs in Marquette Township. Grinder pumps on Fair Avenue are frozen up, the township comes in and pumps twice daily there. The northeast corner of the drain fields are frozen and being pumped daily. When the frost starts moving, a slow thaw would be best. If the frost comes out of the ground too quickly, there will be more broken pipes and repairs needed.

Digging has been done on Fair Avenue and other township roads, and will need cleanup and repaving. Just like Ishpeming and Marquette, because of the Let-Runs, the township is over budget, up 26% in expenses and not collecting anything for that. Also the Township is losing water revenue income and having to pay for sewer creating a higher cost factor. We are waiting to see if Governor Snyder declares an emergency in the U.P.

The Township situation is not as bleak as Republic, who spent 10 years of their general fund this year due to Let-Runs or L’Anse, where there are residents who have been without water for 46 days.

The public works garage should be finished and ready for occupancy in the month of May.

Last Tuesday, township officials went downstate for the tax tribunal hearing. The township manager won’t receive a report for 3-6 weeks, and we never really know what the state will do. If the outcome is negative, the next step is to take the challenge to the Michigan Supreme Court. Township supervisors said we really don’t have the extra money to defend ourselves at that level and would propose combining our defense with area townships and cities affected. It also affects schools in the city, more than Marquette Township. $240,000 have been spent thus far defending ourselves, reassessing and attorney fees. The township is poised to lose $75,000 to $80,000 a year, which would be gone, never to get back. And each time a business goes to the tax tribunal, it will need to be reassessed in the future at a cost of $10-$20,000 by assessment professionals. This is very costly to the Township.

In regards to the location of the hospital, we should hear a decision from them in 45 days. The township supervisor, manager and planner have all met with Duke Life Point and feel there is a good chance that the land behind the Westwood mall could be the new home to the hospital. It’s a major corporation handling the relocation and it’s going to come down to who can defer taxes the longest for them. The city is in a better position to do that, but we have the best site in the township for the hospital.

Another concern with the hospital is their $2 million tax value now will jump to $7 million and they can’t absorb that. The planner said they are trying to work out an abatement or some kind of tax benefit where it’s deferred for 15-20 years.

The township is also looking at a possible DDA. They are looking for members. If you would like to join, you can call manager, Randy Girard.

The Marquette County Road Commission made a recommendation for maintenance of the roads in the township. There is a pecking order in their recommendations for redoing the infrastructure of the roads. The recommendation is currently before the board.

A new recreation study has been planned for Chocolay Township, the City of Marquette, and Marquette Township together. The purpose of the study is to determine and coordinate the five grants for the expansion and linking together of the Heritage Trail and Schwemwood Park to the business community and also to add some restrooms and benches, and to make it more family friendly.

The planner has been dealing with Sky Development with the project north of Lowe’s. Litigation continues over the access easement. Sky hopes to break ground this year and are hoping for an anchor store to solidify the project.

The planner pointed out he has 60 projects underway that he is reviewing right now from residential garages to the hospital. He also had a preliminary call on the 6,000 sq feet between Pet Smart and Ulta for another footwear store.

The TV3 news team is opening up in the Veridea Group mall. They have three suites there and hope to open this spring.

The land east of Gordon Food Services is temporarily spoken for and a site plan is scheduled to be coming in soon.

The tribal gas station should be complete this summer. The addition of a gas station on the south side of US 41 will be very convenient.

Lastly, the dog place that was going to go into the Northwoods property folded and there are currently no plans for development of that property.

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