Rock River Board Meeting starts with three, ends with five members

Editor Notes: The Munising Beacon recorded the audio of this meeting and has made it available here:

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The regular May meeting of the Rock River Township Board was well attended by the public last week. Every available seat was taken, as many gathered together to be involved in local government undertakings.

The monthly Board Meeting took place at the Rock River Township Hall on Tuesday May 28, 2024. Starting at 7:00 p.m., the meeting was presided by three board members (Rowan Bunce, Teri Grout, Cindy Kallio) and attended by twenty seven community members and The Munising Beacon.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Public Comment took center stage. Each speaker was limited to three minutes, with several people hitting this limit to voice their concerns. Emotions were high as many people shared their comments.

New Business

New Business was brought forward on the agenda, moved up from its normal position on the agenda, since it was of the highest importance today.

The Board voted to appoint a new Clerk. A nomination to appoint Heather Marsh failed. This was followed by a motion to appoint Tom Schierkolk, which passed by unanimous roll call vote.

A short recess was held, so Schierkolk could sign papers and review letters of intent from other candidates.

Immediately after the recess, Cindy Kallio resigned from her appointed Trustee position. A motion to accept Kallio’s resignation passed with votes from Bunce and Schierkolk.

The Board then voted to appoint a new Trustee to the Board. Two people were considered for the position; Justin Fairbanks and Ron LeJeune. A motion was made to appoint Justin Fairbanks by Bunce, seconded by Schierkolk. This motion passed with a unanimous roll call vote. Justin Fairbanks was sworn in as Trustee by Supervisor Grout.

The final board seat to be filled by the board was that of Treasurer. Bunce made a motion to appoint Cindy Kallio. This was supported by Grout. A roll call vote was held, with three board members supporting this motion (Bunce, Grout, Fairbanks), one against (Schierkolk). Kallio was then immediately sworn in as Treasurer by Supervisor Grout.

At this time, the board meeting was interrupted briefly as Ron LeJeune passed out papers to the Board members and public in attendance.

The previous month’s meeting minutes were approved, after amendments were made by Bunce.

Department reports

Next the Township’s Department reports were received.

The Treasurer’s financial report was received. A motion passed to pay the Township’s bills of $32,558.27.

The Zoning Administrator provided a report, and submitted New Zoning application documents for review.

The Planning Commission shared output from their May 13th meeting where they approved a draft of the Township’s Master Plan. The plan will be reviewed by the Township Board, surrounding municipalities and public organizations. The DNR recreation plan was also approved by the Planning Commision for review.

The Fire Department Report stated four calls for Fire Services: one mutual aid, two grass fires, and one structure fire. Other Fire Department business includes an upcoming hose test and the future sale of one old fire truck.

The Cemetery Report included two interments and an update on Memorial Day services. UPScapes groundskeeping is providing mowing services.

In new business: The draft Master Plan was approved for distribution and review.

The DNR Recreation Plan was tabled so new board members could review.

The Zoning Fee Schedule was amended, adding a new appeal of zoning determination.

A support resolution was approved to support Nifty Thrifty’s non-profit activities (501c3).

A motion was made by Bunce to add the new Clerk, Treasurer, and their deputies to township bank accounts. Kallio supported the motion and it was unanimously approved by roll call vote.

In unfinished business, the Board voted to affirm their approval of Short-Term Rental Ordinance Zoning. The motion was made by Bunce, and seconded Kallio. This motion passed.

In other Board Business: The public was updated on the Community Clean Up Days which took place on Friday May 31 and Saturday June 1.

Trustee Schierkolk had questions regarding the paper Ron LeJeune had previously handed out to everyone at the meeting. It was regarding LeJeune’s veteran preference about board appointments.

The meeting concluded with more public comment. Emotions again ran high, as nine community members shared their comments. After Board responses to some comments, the meeting concluded at 8:47 p.m.

The next Rock River Board Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Township Hall on June 18, 2024.

The official Meeting Minutes can be found on the Rock River Township Website. https://www.rockrivertownship. org/meetinginfo.html

Previous coverage: