Raisin Township Board appoints committee to study police department
Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh announced appointments during a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 24, to a committee that will study the possibility of the township having a 24-hour, seven days a week police department. Trustee Larry Crittenden, who proposed the idea at an earlier meeting, will serve, as will Trustee Tom Hawkins. Cavanaugh said additional appointments include: Asst. Police Chief Kevin Grayer; Raisin Township resident Russell Mead; and the current Chairman of the Board of Appeals, Jerry Straub. “All these guys are enthusiastic about this, and your approval will launch this committee,” Cavanaugh told the board members just prior to the unanimous vote in favor of the group’s formation.Township officials have been struggling with finances over the past few years and combined the fire and police departments into one Public Safety Department last year. That department is still working to operate in the black, said Cava-naugh. Recent township cases such as a murder last summer and a man shooting off a gun in the area requiring law enforcement officials from other departments to respond when Raisin Township officers were not on duty, prompted some, like Crittenden, to express a desire to further explore whether there is any way to expand the hours of the local police department. Michigan State Police, the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department and the Tecumseh Police Department have been a more prominent presence in the township since budget cutbacks have shrunk manpower and coverage hours for Raisin Township’s own officers. The committee is expected to begin to meet soon and report back to the Board of Trustees with their findings.The board members also approved raising the township’s fees for Basic Life Support ambulance service after Accumed, its billing agent, pointed out that the township’s fees were too low. The township adopted a level of fees commensurate with Blue Cross/Blue Shield rates.Also at the special meeting, Deputy Supervisor Dale Witt, who also chairs the Raisin Township Planning Commis-sion, announced that the building department has received building plans from Krall Farm Market. Site plan approval was given for the new business last year. Krall Farm Market plans to operate on the southern corner of M-52 and Sutton Road, 4497 N. Adrian Highway, formerly Dempsey’s Restaurant.“They plan to expand the existing building,” said Witt. “This is positive news for us. I think we’re all pretty excited to see this business coming in there.”Witt also spent a portion of the meeting on a review of 2014 Guidelines for Poverty Exemption. The board adopted income guidelines for five percent above Federal Poverty Guidelines, which begin at $11,490 for a one-person household to $39,630 for an eight-person household, to qualify for tax exemptions. “In addition, the state is starting to more rigorously require guidelines for an asset level test,” said Witt, who explained how liquid assets, principal residences, and three acres of property would factor into the calculations. “Adopting these guidelines just gives the Board of Review some guidelines when looking at a household’s total valuation when someone applies for an exemption,” Witt said. Application forms for exemptions are available at the Raisin Township office, 5525 Occidental Hwy.Board members also took some time to discuss employee handbooks, which have been gone through by labor attorney Rick Fanning. Trustee Tom Hawkins suggested that the board purchase a guide for employee policies book that is available on Amazon for $149 to help the board members become more educated on the subject. Trustee Crittenden said a workshop put on by the Michigan Township Association in March would be a good session for members to attend, since he had been to one before.“When I was supervisor, I went and it was well worth it,” said Crittenden. “You have to make sure you protect yourselves when you’re terminating someone, and this helps with the proper steps to take.” Several trustees plan to utilize budgeted training funds for the $79 workshop and for the purchase of the book. Cavanaugh asked the board members to review the manual, which would also soon be shared with department heads and then brought back on the agenda at an upcoming board meeting. The next regular Raisin Township Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. rather than its usual second Monday of the month, due to a Board of Review meeting at that time.