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Franklin Township approves levy increase
March 16, 2018

by Gabe Licht

Franklin Township will have a budget of $941,830 following Tuesday’s annual meeting.

With no “no” votes, the residents voted to approve the budget, which includes a levy of $830,000, a 2.4 percent increase over the 2017 levy.

Reserve dollars will be used to account for the remaining $111,830 in the budget, a number representing about 6.9 percent of the township’s closing bank balance in 2017.

Before residents approved the budget, Clerk/Treasurer Stephanie Russek presented the 2017 proposed budget, the 2017 actual spending, and the proposed budget.

In 2017, the proposed budget called for an $810,000 levy and $121,306 in reserve spending. Actual spending totaled $980,201.

Resident John Tackaberry asked why the spending was about 5 percent higher than proposed.

“The revenue was a lot greater than we anticipated,” Russek said.

Despite $48,895 in additional spending, the decrease in the surplus was significantly less at $3,422.

Proposed spending in 2018 calls for $159,380 in general fund spending, $394,750 for roads and bridges, $100,000 for dust control, $120,000 for seal coating and bituminous paving, $117,700 for the Farmington Avenue bond, and $50,000 to be set aside for a vehicle in the future.

Regarding Farmington Avenue, resident Wally Johnson asked if the budget including funds to fog seal it, as was recommended by an engineer at one point.

Fog seal funding is not included in the budget.

“Some engineers said, ‘Do it,’ some engineers said, ‘Wait to do it,’” Supervisor Bill McMullen said. “The paint hasn’t even worn off it yet. We are looking at it. We want to keep it in as good of shape as possible so it lasts another 20 years or whatever.”

Within the $120,000 for seal coating and bituminous is $60,000 to apply Otta Seal to a mile of road as a test. Russek noted that amount could be reduced to $40,000 in the budget, as residents on that road offered to pay one-third of the cost.

“Why wouldn’t you throw that at it and reduce it?” Tackaberry asked.

“You don’t have the money from them at this point in time,” Johnson said. “I’d say leave it the way it is. They can say, ‘Let’s do this,’ and then you go to collect the money, and you get different stories.”

A motion to approve the budget as presented was seconded and passed.

Following approval of the budget and levy, residents returned the conversation to the topic of roads.

“I don’t understand why we’re assessing folks $20,000 when, on 82nd Street, we spent $90,000 for one patch,” resident DeWayne Bauman said, asking later, “Why wasn’t Otta Seal tested on 82nd Street?”

McMullen clarified that the residents were not being assessed $20,000, but rather had approached the township to help pay for the Otta Seal trial.

Regarding 82nd Street, McMullen said, “82nd Street was paved years ago, it was chip sealed. Over the years, it was a fairly decent paved road. It fell apart. We struggled with it for four or five years. ‘Do we fix it? Do we not?’ The road became such an issue with potholes as big as you can imagine. To repair this road was only the right thing to do, just as we paved Farmington Avenue without assessing.”

Resident Milo Durben asked why the residents weren’t being assessed for more of the cost considering Farmington Avenue residents were assessed when it was initially paved.

Supervisor John Czanstkowski made a differentiation between Otta Seal and blacktop.

“If you want a blacktop road, you pay 75 percent,” Czanstowski said.

McMullen emphasized that the township is trying Otta Seal to see how it holds up, and if it proves to be a viable solution, it could be used throughout the township in the next 10 to 20 years.

He also addressed a question regarding chip seal that was on Brighton Avenue but was ground up, returning the road to a granite surface.

“The board that I was a part of thought it was the best option at the time,” McMullen said. “It turns out, it wasn’t. Hopefully, Otta Seal will be an option for higher traffic roads.”

Former Clerk/Treasurer Geri Hagelin served as moderator for the meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, it was announced that Czanstkowski was re-elected with 71 of 75 votes, according to an unofficial tally. Four other individuals each received one write-in vote.

During the meeting, the township also approved $2,000 each for the next two years of Delano Community Education summer programs. From fall of 2016 through summer of 2017, 66 children from Franklin Township participated in community education programs, and 62 children from the township participated from fall of 2017 through Tuesday.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Hagelin recognized 102-year-old township resident June Sutton, who has attended many annual meetings.

The 160th Franklin Township annual meeting will be at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

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