We learned:  According to Brighton Region MDOT chief Mark Sweeney, repairing the 8 Mile Road bridge is off the table.  Also Discussed: DDA Liquor Licenses, Parks & Rec Board, Asset Forfeiture

According to Chief Bill Wagner, the steel beams alone are a six month or more lead time item.  The reason only one side of the bridge was demolished?  Emergency funds paid for the demolition and only the damaged side constituted an emergency. 

Manager Howard Fink's discussions with Mark Sweeney leads him to the conclusion that at best we can hope for a slight pull ahead in the timing of the 8 Mile Bridge new construction because every element of the US-23 project is interdependent. 

Wagner said he asked the Road Commission to consider adding gravel to Barker Road up to the Webster Township line.  He hopes for a cooperative effort from Webster Township since this road will see a heavy increase in usage until the 8 Mile Road bridge is replaced.  Fink said he has asked MDOT to consider covering those costs for the Road Commissions.

Wagner discussed the gate closed at the North end of Northfield Estates Manufactured Home community.  The Park gated the entrance because after the bridge closure, it was being heavily used as a shortcut between Barker Road and 8 Mile.  All local Fire Departments, including Hamburg Township, will have keys so they can use the shortcut or handle fires in the Park.

Dockett asked Public Safety Director Wagner to consider untangling the Township from a Federal Narcotics task force requiring the Township to pay the salary, benefits, and equipping of a DEA agent, in exchange for the promise of a share of Asset Forfeiture funds.  A recent change in DOJ Policy has induced a change in the way Assets are seized, forfeited, or awarded.  A large portion of the promised forfeiture funds have been retracted.  Wagner has asked the Board for an additional month to consider what to do.

[Agenda Items 1&2]  Northfield Township has no available Liquor Licenses.  The last license went to the Rolling Hills Golf Club on Sutton Road.  At this meeting, the Board approved Howard Fink's DDA redevelopment Liquor License initiative.  Below are links to the relevant documents and the State Law making it possible. 

While we both try to figure out what that means, other than more inebriated drivers attempting to share our roads, here's an MLive report about Ann Arbor's success in siphoning liquor licenses away from its neighbors.

The story begins with a Washtenaw Avenue restaurant's attempt to obtain a Pittsfield Township Liquor License.

Significant loss of liquor licenses to Ann Arbor raises concern in neighboring municipalities

The Township objects, afraid that the business could fail and the license be sold into another jurisdiction.  This is apparently legal.

Potential Blue Wolf Grill expansion hindering restaurant in liquor license talks

The Blue Wolf was not granted its license and the restaurant disappeared.

[Agenda Item 3] $10,000 was allocated on an annual basis to the newly formed Parks and Rec Board.  The $10K allotment will begin with the 2017 fiscal year.

The Board considered the impact of an annual committment.  Braun mentioned the $4000 recently committed to decorative lighting for the 8 mile road bridge.  Fink acknowledged that state revenue sharing was variable and heading downhill.  [My words.  Fink is more circumspect.]   Dockett said the Independence Lake Recreation area is available to all, only a mile to the west in Webster Township.  Dockett labeled the new Parks and Rec Board "government expansion."

Some of our neighboring Townships have banded together to provide recreational options.  Here's the backstory about the effort to keep alive the Southeast Livingston County Recreation Sports Authority.  Brighton school system and Green Oak facilities were shared and paid for by residents of Green Oak Township, Brighton Township, Genoa Township, and Brighton.

[Agenda Item 4] The Board Agreed that under the terms of the amended Whitmore Lake Sewer regulations, property owners will not be required to hook up until their existing septic systems fail.  The hardship and burden of paying for the per-acre assessment by non commercial, non industrial property owners was touched upon but unresolved.

[Amended Agenda Item 6]  Wayne Dockett led a discussion of his proposal that it be a policy to place at the head of any Agenda, any items requiring the participation of professionals like TetraTech engineer Brian Rubel.  Dockett cited a recent meeting in which Rubel sat in the audience waiting for two hours while various other items were waded through by the Board.  Dockett expressed concern about the cost to taxpayers in general of having professionals on the clock and sitting in the audience twiddling their thumbs. 

In the particular case of TetraTech, Dockett said that those in the new Whitmore Lake Special Assessment District were paying for literally wasted time. 

Fink's response: "We actually are not charged for Mr. Rubel coming to these meetings. It just doesn't work out that way."

Dockett's retort, ""People don't work for nothing, Howard.  They get paid."

Soon after that, Dockett and Supervisor Engstrom began enthusiastically talking over each other.  Over Dockett's objections, Engstrom called to the Public.  Mary Devlin stood at the microphone and compared Dockett's shoutiness to Donald Trump's. 

The Engstrom-Dockett slugfest resumed during Comments from the Commissioner.  Engstrom kept her cool.    In response to Dockett's comments about renters and property taxes, referring specifically to Mary Devlin, Janet Chick spoke up for renters and the sweat equity many people have contributed to the Township.

Dockett gets the last word: "I'm looking out for your tax dollars."

You can watch it all......with the 3-15-2016 Northfield Township Board of Trustees meeting LiveAgenda