The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved paying $6,000 for site plans for a new fire station despite the plans not being usable.

The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved paying $6,000 for site plans for a new fire station despite the plans not being usable.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

Board approves paying for fire station plans that won’t be used

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 7, 2018

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved to pay a $6,000 bill for plans on a potential new fire station,  despite the plans not being usable due to the township not acquiring the proper land.

The township is in the process of planning a joint fire and police station building just east of the intersection of 23 Mile and Romeo Plank roads. The location would be the same lot as the current Macomb Township Fire Station No. 1, a Macomb County Sheriff’s Office substation and a communications tower.

The communications tower has caused issues, according to Chief Robert Phillips, and the township was discussing obtaining additional property that would allow the new building to be built away from the tower.

After a meeting with the design team last September in which the additional property was discussed, Phillips said he received an email from the architect team saying developing new plans would cost between $5,000 and $6,000. The new plans included a new schematic site plan, floor plan and elevation plan.

Phillips told the Board of Trustees during the Feb. 14 meeting that the proposed amount exceeds what he is authorized to approve per the township’s purchasing policy. On Oct. 25 of last year, the Supervisor’s Office notified the architect it was looking favorable the township would obtain the property and to proceed with the new design.

However, Phillips said the property was not acquired by the township and instead they would move forward with design plans originally presented at the September design team meeting. Still, the second set of plans were worked on and had to be paid for.

The board approved paying the invoice by a vote of 4-2, with Clerk Kristi Pozzi and Trustee Tim Bussineau voting against. Pozzi said she couldn’t understand why the money for the new plans was approved before the land was acquired and not brought in front of the board.

“Where were we at before we decided to spend $6,000 on a change order before we had the property?” Pozzi said during the board meeting. “We didn’t have any type of real agreement that indicated we had the property, but we moved forward on a $6,000 change order to revise the architect’s plans.”

Phillips said it was the deputy supervisor who contacted the architect in October and told them to move forward with the new plans, but Supervisor Janet Dunn said it was her who gave her deputy supervisor the permission to do that.

Phillips said he received the invoice for the $6,000 in mid-January and was told by the finance director to place it on the board agenda. Trustee Roger Krzeminski moved to pay the invoice.

“I will move on this because the bill has to be paid,” Krzeminski said.

Township Attorney Thomas Esordi said the township was working with a real estate agent who specializes in purchasing government property. Esordi said there were several emails back and forth with the owner of the property that indicated a willingness to sell the property despite the township not getting the land.

Pozzi said this is the latest example of problems in the township of the purchasing policy not being followed and that the approval to spend the additional money should have been made by the board.

“(The money) shouldn’t have been approved by the deputy supervisor. It should have been approved by the board prior to being spent,” she said.

Bussineau said he had been made aware of this a while ago and clarified that the Supervisor’s Office can only approve spending $5,000.

Studies to update the fire station have been ongoing for about a decade, but with a road-widening project coming to 23 Mile Road this year, it made sense to move forward with the project.

The current conditions hinder the Fire Department, Phillips said last year, as trucks and other equipment have to be parked at different stations instead of having them centrally located in the township.