IRON RIVER TOWNSHIP—With approximately 32 percent of its Rural Development water project complete, the Iron River Township Board heard from GEI Consultants’ Jeff Bal at its December meeting.
According to Bal, $897,000 worth of improvements have been completed to date. The project has slowed down with the cold weather, but work on water meter installation is planned for the winter months.
Township attorney Steve Polich added a few cross connections need to be cleaned up and a few other problems need to be resolved regarding water line issues.
The board passed a resolution permitting Trustee Al Froblom to sign all documents pertaining to the water project, as outgoing Supervisor Mark Polley has been the authorized signer. Also approved was a pay request in the amount of $316,712.12, including $31,051.61 for engineering costs, $121,847.00 to HD Supply for water meters and $163,813.51 to contractor Hebert Construction.
A wellhead protection committee meeting scheduled for Feb. 6 led to discussion of a supply of chemicals at a storage facility located near a township aquifer. Polich believes the first step is to find out exactly which chemicals are stored at the site and if they pose any significant danger to the aquifer if a leak occurs. He noted that information thus far has been speculative. The aquifer, according to what Froblom has been told, is rare, with a natural vein of water only 21 feet from the surface and the ability to draw 1,000 gallons of water per minute.
With the unseasonably warm recent weather, Froblom told the board that several more lines were tied in to the new water line on Old Beechwood Road, with a small number of complaints of discolored or dirty water. Froblom also brought up the need for a portable hydrant pump, which the township has in the past borrowed from Bates Township. Needed for general flushing of hydrants and in case of a fire, the board opted to get prices and purchase at the January meeting.
Work on the township’s Dobson Drive sewer lift station was scheduled to begin the day after the meeting. The next step called for changing out the motors, valves, piping and guide rails, which are original to the lift station, dating back to 1986. Control panels were updated in 2002 but did not solve all flow problems with the lift station, which utilities supervisor Ron Froblom said was worn out. He estimated that updates to the station should be good for another 25 to 30 years.
The township’s request for a grant through the Competitive Grant Assistance Program is still in the running. The grant, submitted for a quarter of a million dollars, would help pay for updates to the entire sewer system, as well as a SCADA radio system.
The board received news that it has not been awarded either of the DNR Trust Fund grants it had applied for and would have assisted with a recreational facility on Playground Road. The good news, Bal said, is that there will be limited effort in reapplying next year.
A request for township digital mapping data was approved by the board. Considered a standard request by assessor Kim Schmidt, the data was requested by Polar Geomatic Solutions and will be used strictly for an emergency response plan for Enbridge, which will increase the safety of residents near the leased pipeline land.
New Supervisor Scott Tarsi thanked the public for its support and reported that since his term began, approximately three weeks prior to the meeting, he had been updated on all legal issues pertaining to the township and is now part of the West Iron County Sewer Authority, the West Iron County Fire Authority and the Windsor Center committee.
Newly elected Treasurer Robert Tulppo also thanked the public. In his treasurer’s report, he suggested moving $249,012.28 from the general fund money market to the general fund checking, to cover a negative balance of $154,925.57. A motion was passed to transfer the funds.
Safety bonuses of $150 for each of the township’s three employees was approved, with Froblom abstaining.
Residents Don Wolf and Roger Millis were re-appointed to the Board of Review, but the committee needs one more member and one alternate, which will be advertised for.
Marcia Bernhardt, current Iron River Township West Iron District Library representative, was also re-appointed and will serve another four-year term.
The board approved a $150 sponsorship of the IronLine sled dog race, coming to Iron River in January, with Froblom voting against.
Tabled until more information could be sought was a request for a $50 membership with the Iron County Heritage Trail.
Also tabled until next year’s budget was a request for sponsorship of the Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo.