Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of September 14, 2020

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, September 14, 2020, in the township board room.

The township’s auditor, Eric VanDop, gave the audit presentation during work session (due to time constraints with another municipality).

The meeting was moved to the Fire Department next door in order to comply with the current COVID-19 executive order and allow for more people to be gathered in an outdoor space.

Members Present: Heidi Tice, Supervisor; Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Greg Hulka, Jeff Jacobs, Terry Knoll, Denise Winebarger
Members Absent: none

At 7:00pm, Heidi Tice opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer.

Also Present: 12- residents; 1- employees; 4- guests; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Director or Public Utilities.

Terry Knoll moved, Greg Hulka seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to accept the fiscal year 2019/2020 audit.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

Rose Dillon moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to leave the balance of $198,503 in Public Safety for future capital purchases.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

The motion by Heidi Tice, supported by Andrea Anderson, was carried unanimously, to approve the minutes of August 24, 2020 as presented.

The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Heidi Tice, was carried unanimously, to approve the agenda as presented.

1. Brian Michelli reported that the recently purchased police cruisers should be delivered soon; the Fire Department will be wearing yellow rose shirts as part of their uniform for the month of September as part of fire fighter suicide prevention awareness.
2. Steve Biesiada reported that the backhoe has been repaired and is back in operation; hydrant flushing will be taking place over the next 3 weeks; the new valve installed in the smiley water tower is working and showing positive effects.
3. Andrea Anderson shared election turnout statistics for the August election.
4. Heidi Tice shared that Crockery Township is working on updating their master plan; the Police Officer’s Labor Council would like to start collective barganning soon and asked the board to submit input; shared the Muskegon County AMAR report; shared the Township Insights newsletter.



20-091 Public Hearing: Proposed DDA
(a.) Andrea Anderson moved, Heidi Tice seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to open the Public Hearing at 7:15pm.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

1. Matt Farrar, Muskegon County Public Works Director and Economic Development, opened with statements regarding the function of a DDA including what funds can be spent on such as water and sewer infrastructure, roads, streetscapes, and more. Whether or not Muskegon County would opt out would need to be considered by the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners. The only tax increments captured by the DDA would be on growth and new development.

2. Ron Cooper asked many questions on why it is needed, what it would be used for, how it would impact the schools, and more.

3. Jon Bryant of Rockford Michigan and developer in the area of the proposed DDA inquired about the limitations and uses of the funds, are funds directed at properties in the DDA. He mentioned that he is aware of many times where the existence of a DDA has benefitted the community. He has developed several businesses in which having a DDA was influential in the location choice.

4. Bob Szymoniak, Superintendent of Fruitport Community Schools, asked questions on what school funds could be included in the tax capture of the DDA. He shared that a resolution would be going in front of the school board to opt out of the DDA.

5. Tim Burgess inquired about the boundaries and what would be included in the DDA.

6. Denny Cherette, owner of the golf course within the proposed DDA boundaries, gave some history and benefits of DDA’s, shared that he has been involved in several DDA’s in other areas including Grand Haven, gave opinions that there is zero economic downfall to developing a DDA, and stated that a DDA would make the area become competitive.

7. Pam Harris, Fruitport resident, inquired about what type of development would be encouraged in the area of the DDA, shared that the area needs to be stimulated with multifaceted growth and needs to continue with development in that particular corridor.

8. Tony Moulatsiotis, Muskegon County Treasurer, stated that the County is not in any position financially to opt in to a DDA.

9. Trustee Denise Winebarger asked for an update on the proposed casino. She also stated that she is an employee of the County and that her hours have been cut and that the County is not in a good financial position.

10. Treasurer Rose Dillon stated that the Muskegon County Administrator said in a previous meeting that he would be in favor of getting the DDA approved in Fruitport.

11. Trustee Jeff Jacobs made a statement clarifying that he does not own any property within the proposed DDA district.

A heated discussion involving Tim Burgess, Denny Cherette, Tony Moulatsiotis, Ron Cooper, other attendees, and members of the board occurred.

(b.) The motion by Andrea Anderson, supported by Heidi Tice, was carried unanimously to close the Public Hearing at 8:16pm and return to open session.

Trustee Greg Hulka asked if the Township can wait to make a decision on creating the DDA until it is known whether the County and school will opt out.

Supervisor Heidi Tice stated that she would seek the Attorney’s advice on the questions presented in the public hearing.

The Township has 60 days from the time of the public hearing to adopt the ordinance to create the DDA.


20-092 Appointment of Ron Becklin to the Board of Review
Heidi Tice moved, Rose Dillon seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to appoint Ron Becklin to fill the current term as “alternate” on the Board of Review.
Ron’s term will end January 1, 2021.
Ayes: Hulka, Winebarger, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: None

20-093 Payment of bills
Heidi Tice moved, Rose Dillon seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $53,229.75; Public Safety $34,641.66; Water $172,717.14; Sewer $1,622.17; Trust & Agency $2,400.00; Street Lights $14,302.73
Totaling: $278,913.45
Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger, Hulka
Nays: none



The motion by Greg Hulka, supported by Terry Knoll, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 8:26pm.