The Michigan Pond Hockey Tournament Has been Cancelled.

Discussions: Pond Hockey, Whitmore Lake Main Street Sidewalk project, Fire Station 2 Celltower, Whitmore Lake SAD construction contracts, Township funds investment, Township email problems, billing for emergency services.

Washtenaw County issued the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Whitmore Lake Main Street Sidewalk Project on January 21st, Mr. Fink announced.  He said that on February 24th Washtenaw County will request a release of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Washtenaw County will be managing the construction, the project, and the $102,402.00 in 2010-2015 dated CDBG funds.  Details about the funding are in the above FONSI link.

Unusually warm weather created unsafe ice conditions so the Pond Hockey Tournament was cancelled.  The Chilly Dip will be held on Saturday, February 20.

The Firestation #2 Verizon Celltower lease was approved. 

The celltower created some discussion.  Trustee Chick voiced concern over the devaluation of property adjacent to the celltower.  She offered a collection of links to websites documenting the effect, up to 20% she said.  Dockett asked for a legal opinion on the updated contract.  Braun described the area as "pristine."  Chick asked about the follow up approvals.

The footprint of the celltower installation was reduced to 40' by 50' from the originally planned 50' by 50'.    That 1/20th of an acre is carved out of a small field north of the Fire Station.  The field currently earns the Township about $27/acre in rent paid by a Farmer.

One element of the original proposal was changed so that Northfield Township may negotiate with individual cell providers who wish to co-locate on the antenna mast.  Most masts contain three sets of antennae.

On a per acre basis, the rent is a huge multiple of the rent paid by the farmer, whose $27/acre rate amounts to about $1.35/year for the 2,000 square feet which will now be occupied by the celltower.  The Verizon contract will pay $16,800/year for the space.  With its 2% annual rate increase, over the 25 year life of the contract the rent adds up to $538,109.00  The offer the Board rejected in September 22 would have increased rents annually at a 3% rate, totalling over 25 years, $612,515.00.  The difference, $74,406.60, may eventually be made up by rents from co-location leases.

The Celltower provider reserves the right of first refusal if the Township decides to sell the tower contract. 

Selling the rights to future revenue streams has become common among cash strapped American Municipalities.  Turnpikes in Chicago...  Parking meters in Nashville...  Closer to home was the Detroit Port Authority Freighter terminal deal with Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Maroun.  In terms of the damage done to Taxpayers, the Maroun deal could go down as one of the worst in Detroit History.

The Board decided in a follow up motion to split the lease revenue between the Fire Department and the Township's general fund in the ratio 75% : 25%.   This applies only to the initial Verizon antenna array.  If any other cellular providers co-locate on the antenna mast, the division of those revenues will be decided at that time.

Treasurer Kathy Braun distributed a fact sheet on investments to the Board.  This fact sheet was not in the meeting packet.  She reminded the Board that she distributed this information as a courtesy.  She said she is not obligated to gain their permission.  I do not know how this affects the discussion held at the last Board meeting, when Braun and Fink collided over the issue of large amounts of Township funds sitting in checking accounts, underinvested and overexposed.  Has Braun asserted her legal authority?  Does this have anything to do with the mysterious entries in the Township books included in the meeting packet?  I'm referring to a January 21st, 2015 Township Check for $500,000.00.  The ledger entry says only "CASH - TEMPORARY."

With the Board's approval, the Fire and Police Departments have engaged what amounts to a collection agency to bill emergency and car crash victims for Department response and responders.  Trustee Dockett said:

“Cost Recovery Company is “a shakedown, scam artist, money grabbing,

private collection agency that we’re dealing with here.”

Police Department Lieutenant Greene explained that Township residents and taxpayers would not be charged since they were already paying taxes to support the Departments.  Only insurance companies would be billed.  Dockett was unimpressed.

Contracts for work on the Whitmore Lake Road Sewer Assessment District were awarded.  $473,994.75 to the excavator and $85,000 to TetraTech.  Only five Grinder Pumps will be installed.

Finally, Wayne Dockett reminded us that operating the Township for the past three weeks had “cost the good people of Northfield Township $805,215.00.”  Of that, $500,000.00 may be the money transfer mentioned above.

Board members Otto and Chick announced that citizens were welcome to email them at their personal email addresses, since the County email service is apparently unreliable.  Otto's address is noted in this meeting's LiveAgenda.

Engstrom said the Board of Review would meet March 15, 1pm - 9 pm, and March 17, 9am - 5 pm.  To set up an appointment for reviewing your assessment, contact the Assessor after February 26.


Click here to watch individual Agenda items using our LiveAgenda

  • Click here to view or download the Meeting Agenda
  • Click here to view or download the Parks and Recreation 2015 Master Plan  (very large - 9.3 MB)
  • Click here to view or download the Manager's Report
  • Click here to view or download the Firestation No 2 CellTower Contract
  • Click here to view or download the Meeting Packet
  • Click hereto watch the meeting live on LiveStream


  • Who is Arvin Sango, the company mentioned in the Manager's Report?
  • Arvin Sango is a Toyota Supplier and manufacturer of

Exhaust System and Under Floor Converter Assemblies

Instrument Panel Reinforcement Subassemblies

Body Panel Stampings

Side Door Impact Beams

Tubular Manifolds