The citizen’s comments section of agenda item took up the majority of Saline Township’s February meeting Wednesday evening as several township residents raised concerns and questions about potential 425 Agreements between Saline Township and the City of Saline.
A 425 Agreement refers to Article 8 of Pubic Act 425 of 1984 which allows for the transfer of properties between governmental municipalities.
Eric Grossman, a township resident on Macon Road, asked the board for clarification about the status of the township’s negotiations with the City of Saline to establish a 425 Agreement.
Jim Marion, township supervisor, said Saline Township has not been presented with a proposed 425 Agreement from the City of Saline and the township board has taken no official action on any proposed 425 Agreement.
Fred Lucas, consulting township attorney, said “I have had no conversations with anyone on behalf of the township about a 425 agreement.” Lucas went on to clarify for the citizens attending the meeting about the structure of a 425 agreement and the difference between those agreements and when a city will annex township properties into city boundaries.
Victoria Diehl, another township resident who resides on Macon Road, asked Lucas about exceptions, any ways a City can bypass townships and 425 agreements and force properties into a city.
Supervisor Marion and attorney Lucas both stressed that the township would never force a township resident into the city if the resident didn’t want to be a part of the city.
“The township’s relationship with the city has been positive and the City of Saline has never attempted to just annex a property ever before,” said Lucas. “However, if a city decided to do that, there is very little protection for a resident,” Lucas said, “very little a resident can do to stop an annexation.”
Marion reminded citizens that City of Saline Mayor Brian Marl came to address the township a couple of months ago and stressed the city has no intention of bringing anyone into the city who did not want to be a part of the city.
Lucas clarified that any 425 agreement between the township and the City of Saline would only involve properties that are within the urban development district as designated by the township.
“To avoid any confusion, people should know that the city is trying to negotiate a 425 agreement with the Andelina Farms development, that property only and another general 425 agreement that would cover all other future developments as designated in the township urban development district,” Lucas said.
Oak Park Estates Special Assessment District:
Township Clerk Kelly Marion reported she had received signed petitions from over 50% of the parcel owners in Oak Park Estates requesting that Saline Township create a special assessment district for the repair and replacement of roads and streets in the Oak Park Estates neighborhood. The township board approved a resolution of its tentative intent to establish a special assessment district in the area identified as Oak Park Estates.
The tentative cost of the project, as determined by the Washtenaw County Road Commission, was $555,000 which would be assessed against all 61 lots in the area designated as Oak Park Estates.
The Board has scheduled a public hearing to be held on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. at the township hall located at 5731 Braun Road, Saline, Michigan.
Huntington Woods Sidewalk:
Supervisor Marion said he had heard from City of Saline Mayor Brian Marl, who said he had heard the Washtenaw County Road Commission had approved the sidewalk project. Marl said he was trying to arrange a meeting with the Huntington Woods neighbors, as well as other affected property owners, to provide details about the project.
The township board asked attorney Lucas to attend those meetings on behalf of the township. Lucas said the township does have some potential liability as part of the sidewalks will be in Saline Township.
Township Approval of Contracts & Road Millage Proposal:
In taking care of more routine business, the township board approved:
- a renewal of its three-year agreement with Carlisle & Wortman, Planning Consultants for the township, a not to exceed $10,000 agreement
- a proposal to put its .9960 millage to support the maintenance of local roads on the August ballot, which produces between $95,000 - $96,000 annually for repair and maintenance of local township roads
- approved funds to support local fire protection for 2020. This includes $132, 727 for operating expenses and an additional $8,093 for capital improvements. The township’s percentage of the cost has dropped to 10.79%, from 11.6% last year
Township Board Approved 3.5% Increase in Trustee Compensation:
Township Treasurer Renee Luckhardt proposed a 3.5 percent increase for township board trustees, citing their increasing workload in carrying out their responsibilities conducting business on behalf of the township. The proposal was approved unanimously. The board polled the citizens in attendance at the meeting what they thought about the increase, and the small group at the meeting expressed their support for the increases.