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Lake Orion denies fee waiver for its fire hall



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August 07, 2013 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

The Village of Lake Orion denied request of the township to wave permit and demolition fees totaling $1200 for three houses the township purchased on Atwater St. for a new fire hall.

Since around 2005 the Village of Lake Orion has requested the moving of Fire Station #1 from the downtown district due to issues raised by Lake Orion events, such as parades which block off streets near Station #1.

The township closed on the three houses for $205,000 at the end of June, and now must demolish them in order to construct the new fire station, which would service both the township and the village.

In order to do so both the sewer and water lines must be shut off. The township would still have paid $200 in man labor costs to remove the lines.

Only one village council member was in favor of waving the associated fees, including a permanent sewer disconnection performance fee of $200 each, permit fees of $50 each, permanent water disconnection permit fee of $50 each, and a demolition zoning compliance review permit fee of $100 each.

There were concerns among village councilmen that with the indefinite time frame proposed by the township of around three years to build the fire hall the village would lose the tax base of the three buildings.

One council member is also aggravated the township has not apologized yet over police millage issues from the past.

"If I remember correctly the last time we dealt with them on financial matters, they came at us shooting on all accounts about the tax base and police millage rate," he said. "So they say they should control our taxing and now they are saying but would you wave $1,200, and I personally say no," he said.

"I think next time they want something maybe we can start fresh, but I still haven't heard an apology for that tax millage thing," he continued.

Village Manager Darwin McClary recommended the village wave the fees.

"I think there have been some concerns with some other issues that have come up recently and what I'm hoping we can do from here is that we can work much more closely in the future in collaborative efforts and put some of theses past issues behind us," he said. "I think we are all working very hard to try and make that happen."

Village President Ken Van Portfliet voted no on waving the fees, but agrees with McClary.

"What I foresee is us getting past the issues of the police millage and any frustrations and moving forward for a more compatible working capability, more as a team, and not let these petty items get in the way," Van Portfliet said. He said until the township rebuilds on the Atwater property the village loses its taxbase from the three buildings.

Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said they would move forward with the plans for demolition anyway, including paying the $1400 in fees to the village. They are currently accepting demolition bids.

"In the spirit of cooperation and the fact that the main reason we are really moving this fire station is at the villages request, I was surprised and disappointed at the village council's action to not wave the fees, when originally it was brought up by the village to build a fire station better fit for the entire community," Barnett said. "In the grand scheme of things $1200 isn't that much, but its just disappointing that they are not more willing to cooperate with us on a project that is going to ultimately really benefit the village."

Barnett said the township does not have a time schedule to rebuild Fire Station #1 because they have an immediate need to rebuild Fire Station #2.

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