Trustees introduce ordinance updates, stall canal SAD

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published May 22, 2024


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Movement and standstill defined the May 13 Harrison Township Board of Trustees meeting as a long-running special assessment was left in limbo while ordinance updates leapt closer to final approval.

The first ordinance update changes language regarding how the Harrison Township Fire Department recovers dispatching fees from parties that cause an emergency incident and adds language to allow police to recover fees through the same method. Township officials reexamined the emergency services cost recovery ordinances after a Clinton Township smoke shop supplier exploded in March, killing one person and causing damage to responding emergency vehicles.

Township officials also updated language regarding junk property infractions in order to prompt the resolution of a situation involving a derelict boat.

“I did ask one of the township attorneys to make a change to our ordinance so that we might have, at least, some opportunity to address the partially sunken boat,” Township Supervisor Ken Verkest said. “With this we will be revising our blight ordinance to address junk boats, because we’ve tried at a state and federal level to say the Coast Guard mitigates oil issues associated with the boat, and they said it’s not violating an ordinance. So I said, ‘Cool, let’s make an ordinance that says it’s not allowed.’ With any luck, we’ll be able to enforce this.”

The ordinance revisions passed an initial reading with a second reading set to occur at a future meeting.


SAD delay
Those in support of the special assessment district to dredge the Lakeshore, Archer and Pardee canals will have to wait even longer for the work to commence. Though trustees expressed a willingness to move forward with the project by citing the 55% approval from property owners affected by the district, slow-moving communication with attorneys about bonds for the project led to the process being tabled to give counsel time to respond.

“Because the project exceeds our capability to fund internally, we bond the cost of the project (and) we pay that to the contractor,” Township Clerk Adam Wit said. “Once we get the final number, we’ll send out an invoice to all the residents … We give you an opportunity to pay the project off in full so you won’t have to incur any interest charges, and at that point anything that’s remaining on your balance will go out to your winter tax bill and you’ll be paying a portion of that each year until it’s paid off.”

A public hearing was held about the SAD which saw three people speak unfavorably about the project, two people speak favorably and one resident recommend storing the dredged soil on a barge rather than on land.