BARODA — Before another vote to fund a new Baroda Township fire station is scheduled, voters will know exactly where the station would be built, Fire Chief Larry Klug said on Monday.
“Everybody’s gonna know where we will put it,” Klug told the Baroda Township Board. Voter uncertainty over the station’s location “was one of the biggest concerns out there. Nobody knew where we were going to put it.”
Voters in August narrowly defeated the township’s request for a $2.8 million bond issue to fund the station. A total of 308 voters voted in favor of the request, and 324 voted against it.
Klug said the uncertainty likely fostered a lot of rumors, including one that said the township was prepared to pay $1 million for a site on Cleveland Avenue. The actual amount budgeted to buy property was up to $200,000.
Before another vote is scheduled, a committee is going to do a lot of research on potential locations, Klug said. The township already owns suitable property on Lemon Creek Road, but, unlike the Cleveland Avenue site, water lines would have to be extended to that site and that would be expensive, he added.
The potential cost is “not going to get any cheaper,” Klug concluded. “But the people will know where we’re gonna put it.”
The current station, just north of the Baroda Municipal Building on First Street, is more than 60 years old.
Township officials say the station is outdated and so cramped that some equipment has to be stored elsewhere. Firefighters have no showers or decontamination facilities, have no way to clean their suits or equipment, and can’t refill their air bottles.
Also Monday, the board voted to hike trash collection rates from $15 to $16 a month.
Treasurer Brenda Troxell said the service for each trash container now costs 5 cents more a month than the township collects. “We’re in the hole this year,” she said.
In other business, the board voted to accept Hungerford Nichols’ audit of the township’s books for fiscal 2017-18.
The audit was presented to the board in August, but the board didn’t vote on it as Troxell had discovered a discrepancy. After Monday’s meeting, she said the audit showed the township holding matching road funds with Berrien County, but that account no longer exists.
Troxell said the township from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, will hold its annual Trail & Treat event for children at the township park at Hess Lake.
The “non-scary event” will feature Halloween story telling and, if the weather cooperates, adults handing out treats along a walking trail, Troxell said. In the event of inclement weather, all events will take place in the new pavilion, she added.
The Baroda Lions Club will offer free eye screening for children 1-16 years old, Troxell said. The township is looking for volunteers to help out, and donations of money or packaged treats are welcome, she said.
Clerk Wendie Shafer said the township Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, will hold a public hearing on a special land use permit application for a horse barn and stable on Shawnee Road. The planners will also hold a second public hearing on a proposed Resorts Amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance, she said.
Property taxes were due on Sept. 14, and Troxell said the township’s delinquency rate “is less than 7 percent. That’s pretty good.”