SPRINGPORT TOWNSHIP BOARD
SPECIAL MEETING
AUGUST 28TH, 2006

The special meeting of the Springport Township Board was called to order at 7:30 pm by
Supervisor Lance Mitchell at the Springport Township Hall.
Wilson stated that the meeting is being recorded to assist in the minutes. Once the
minutes are approved the tape will be destroyed.
Upon roll call the following members were present: Betz, Mitchell, Rybicki and Wilson.
Travioli was absent. There were 45 visitors.
Supervisor Mitchell stated the purpose of this meeting is to get public comment on
whether or not we should have a Police department to see if we should put this back on the
November ballot.
Rybicki introduced himself and explained he has been on the Police Board for 4 years.
He also introduced Tom Betz, the Treasurer, who would answer questions about millage.
Packets were made up with information about the past 4 years budgets, also a table on taxable
values for proposed millage.
Rybicki did state that there was an increase in health, dental, worker comp and auto
insurance in the past year. 4 years ago the people stated they were tired of the county and
wanted us to start a department. This year the people came back to the board and asked for
increased protection. The board agreed on the 4.75 mills to be put on the August ballot.
Travioli arrived at 7:35 pm.
Travioli questioned why the Police department couldn’t run on 3.5 mills. Chief is lowest
paid in county. He is also given a car because he is on call 24/7. Also due to the increases as
stated above. Travioli stated that people he spoke with were not in a position to increase their
taxes.
Supervisor Mitchell opened up to floor for public discussion.
-Marion Wyatt thought the officers were here to protect and serve. She is ok with the protection
but is not seeing the serving of the community.
Rybicki stated that complaints need to be made to Chief Speese.
-Jeremiah Newsome questioned how may officers get insurance and where we get gas from. He
is also concerned about harassment. He did give a few examples.
-Charles Huff stated that the department needed to straighten up or there would be no millage.
-David Lindsey is in support of the police. He is concerned about the vandalism if the police
department does not continue.
Travioli stated it is not the boards decision to keep the department, it is up to the voters. We are
here tonight to see what the people want.
-Roy Lincoln wanted to know why we continue asking for millage. We need to change our
ideas.
Wilson stated that the reason we are here tonight is because of people that attended our
Township meeting and asked us to try for the millage again. The board then decided to hold a
special meeting to see what the people wanted.
-Tom Sebastian stated he is already paying taxes to county and state and he doesn’t see the
Township officers around town. He stated that he sees the police out at M -50 and M -99 all the
time. Suggested we get the officers in town where they belong.
-Charles Huff stated we need to stick with the current millage of 3.5 mills. He also suggested
we take what we are hearing and talk with our Chief.
-Jeff Mitchell stated that the Police Department has organized a softball tournament for 8-80
days last year and also got a water fountain for Sykes park. There is also a new bank in town.
-Joe Hubbard stated he had a car/deer accident and went to Jackson the next day and stopped at
the Sheriffs department. He was sent home and told to call 911. They send the first available, it
may not always be the local department.
-Jeremiah Newsome wanted to let the people know he is not anti-police. He has a vested interest
in the town. He suggested a surveillance camera.
-Lisa Mitchell stated that the Village is part of the Township. There is no way to put
surveillance cameras on every house. The police are here for the Township.
-Jennifer Cushman wanted to let the people know the police are here for the Township. The
police are also stopping drunk drivers out in the Township. Stated there are bad police officers
out there and you should not hold another officers mistakes against a new officer. Give the new
guys a chance.
-David Lindsey spoke about speeders. It will only get worse if we don’t have a department.
-Tabitha Dake is the manager at the Mobile Home park. Had a issue with a police officer, she
spoke with Chief Speese and the problem was taken care of. She stated it comes down to “Do
you or do you not want to be protected?”
-Sherry Prine stated at the last meeting Chief Speese gave statistics with calls in the Township
versus the village.
Rybicki stated that the numbers were a bit higher in the Township. Betz stated it was about 60%
Township and 40% village.
-Shelly Johnson stated that the Springport Police never showed up on any of the calls that she
made to 911. Springport has shown up after another police officer had arrived.
-Jason Sebastian suggested to take the millage we currently have and utilize it better. Run the
department like a business. Spread the hours out where we need them.
Betz asked if we should publish when the officers are working. It has always been a problem
with 911 contacting Springport officers.
-Cliff Herl stated during the night there is 1 car on. At night calls will take a while to get there.
911 should be calling Springport, not sure why they don’t. 911 will send the car that is in the
nearest vicinity. Cliff thought it was a great idea when we got our own department. He stated
we are getting our monies worth from our Chief.
-Tina Bienz questioned why the Chief is driving the car to and from work. What would the cost
be if we didn’t allow him to take the car home.
Rybicki stated the car was part of his salary when he first stated. He is the lowest paid Chief of
Police in the County.
-Jennifer Cushman stated salaries of Rookie officers in Battle Creek and Jackson. The chief is
underpaid.
-Jeremiah Newsome stated that Cliff Herl is at all the meetings of the Township and Villages. If
he is not there is something wrong. It is not all of the kids that are causing problems, it is some
of them. It is also adults as well.
Wilson asked the guests to keep the comments between each other to a minimum and be
respectful when others are talking.
-Bill Roberts asked the board why we need the motorcycle.
Rybicki explained the cost of the motorcycle and the savings to the Township.
-R. Yahnka has heard nothing but complaints about the department. Also wanted to know why
the fuel is on Parma Rd and where are the other cars kept.
Rybicki stated there were problems with the Village at one time, the Chief wanted to get his own
tank for fuel.
-Jason Sebastian suggested that we talk to Chief about the officers taking personals when on
duty. If it is not a personal call shouldn’t they be using the radios.
Mitchell stated that the radios don’t work out here so they do use their phones.
-David Lindsey suggested putting GPS on the cars so we know where they are.
-Roy Lincoln stated that other townships are doing ok without their own department.
Wilson stated she spoke with Leoni Township today and they are currently paying for their
police and fire from their general fund.
-Pam Wilson questioned what the lawsuit was and why it was paid out of the General fund.
Rybicki stated the lawsuit was from Gary O’DELL when we let him go. The lawsuit was paid
out of the General fund because the Township was sued. We spoke with legal counsel on this.
General fund has been helping to support the Fire department as well.
-Diane B. wanted to know who owns the bank.
Rybicki stated the Township owns the bank and that there is a 5 year lease with the bank right
know.
-Charles Huff wanted to know how many full-time and part-time officers there is.
-Pam Wilson asked if the Reserves are covered by the township if they are injured while
working.
-Jason Sebastian asked how much it cost to put this on the ballot.
-Bill Russell is curious why the township and the village can’t be united. He stated that the
Police are over the township, not just in one location.
-Darlene Richards stated that the paper can’t be blamed for the millage not passing.
-Diane B. questioned if we don’t get the 4.75 mills that we don’t want anything.
Rybicki stated that is not the case, that is why we are here to see what the people want.
The Board explained what is currently on the tax statements. Trying to explain that the police
millage is no longer collected and that the last of the Fire Equipment millage would be collected
in December.
-Jason Sebastian asked if we have to do a 4 year millage.
-Jeff Mitchell stated by doing the millage for 1 year it makes the Police look for a job every year.
We have a good Chief.
-Rosie Terping stated the Village needs protection. The grants that the Village received has been
because of having the local police. If there is no Township Police the Village would have to do a
special assessment to pay for the police. The Village may possibly be able to help, but would
need to talk to the council.
-Paul Mitchell asked that if we contracted with the County wouldn’t we need a millage for that
also.
Rybicki stated that the County would not come back in if we don’t have a millage. They would
come out when they could.
-Jeremiah Newsome asked what a special assessment was. Rosie Terping spoke in regards to the
special assessment.
-Jeff Mitchell stated that the business owners do not live in the Township and they can’t vote on
the Special Assessment.
The Board broke for a 5 minute recess at 9:25 pm.
Supervisor Mitchell called the meeting back to order at 9:30 pm.
Rybicki stated that with the 3.5 mills we would have about 154,000.00. We would then
use some of the fund balance, general fund money and possibly the village helping out to get to
the 189,000.
Rybicki offered Resolution 15-06 Police Protection Millage Proposal of 3.5 mills for 4
years. Supported by Betz. Roll Call: Travioli-aye, Mitchell-aye, Betz-aye, Wilson-aye, Rybicki-
aye. The Supervisor declared the Resolution adopted.
The wording would be the same as the August wording except for 3.5 mills not the 4.75
mills. Wilson read the ballot language.
Discussion followed about the word “increase.”
Motion by Rybicki to authorize Wilson to change the word “increase” if there is better
language available. Supported by Travioli. Motion carried.
Wilson will talk with Suzanne at the County and get back to the Board members before
making any changes.
-Paul Mitchell suggested publishing something with the ballot language explaining it to the
taxpayers.
Motion by Wilson to adjourn the meeting. Supported by Betz. Motion carried. Meeting
adjourned at 9:45 pm.