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carolburton



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:40 pm 
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I was referring to the positives I have seen of being able to support the Island as a whole unit. Diversity is good division is not.

I see where having a significant say in the transportation, possibilities of the marina, and launches are really vital needs for our community.

The benefits of unity with boards like the Planning Commission, Board of Review, lawyers and accountants for all and I know there were a lot more of those pointed out.

The ability to vote for or against any thing on the Island is a positive to me. To feel like we belong to all of these organizations and not split hairs over who contributes what.

To know that even in the worst case scenario if you own property in both townships that your taxes will go down overall. That is a benefit to me and I certainly felt it writing my checks to the townships just recently. Deadline folks to pay your taxes.

I can go to one township meeting. There will not be two buildings for the same purpose and that the St James one could maybe not be sold but repurposed as an added attraction like a museum. We need more things for tourists to do.

The severely underutilized and not so public airport in Peaine will have to open up to more people for use of it.

There will be less nepotism with less positions to fill. I am not saying that it is a problem right now but it has been in the past. I do not have facts on the amount of that. There will be a larger pool to pull from with less positions.

The Grant opportunities will be larger for the island as a whole when in regard to serving a larger population. Always a Grant criteria! Maybe we get a Wellness Center and pool for taxpayers that we can all make use of.

That is my list to date.

What I haven't heard is why it's not a good idea other than loss of positions and control. However if we share every entity what control are we losing? And the positions of elected officials are meant to be for the taxpayer not because someone needs a job. So until I start hearing why not my vote is leaning to the pro consolidation. How will my family and our life on Beaver Island not benefit from a consolidation?
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
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Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:12 pm 
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Carol - Applause
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Kirk
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ktaylor



Joined: 02 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:25 pm 
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Kathe: I will answer your question about BITA/Bibco. My background as a BITA board member started with the formation in 1997 for the purpose of obtaining grant money and operational money for ferry service to Beaver Island. Since it was formed only by St. James Township the board is appointed by township elected officials that have no direct connection to the boat company. (i.e. BIBCO board member or major stock holder) BITA appointed members were not to have more than a minimum number of BIBCO shares. I was actually the one with the most (25). I served for 12 years and ended up as the board president. Apparently, even though I was a great supporter of boat personnel, boat service to BI and the Emerald Isle itself, I crossed a line about being too vocal about management costs and operations. I agree it was not my job, but I liked to point out some inequities. Because of this I apparently became a thorn in someone's side (BIBCO?) I was not reappointed by the clerk (Jean Wierenga and Supervisor Rick Speck and one other trustee which I can't remember who it was.

Now for some facts. BITA sent out a RFP and the BIBCO got a 30 year contract. That contract is up in 2027. We originally got the majority of the cost (80%) for the Emerald Isle from the National Government, 10% from the State, and 10% ($300,000) from the boat company. After the boat was built and on line the State of Michigan began to pay for many of the cost of associated with the running the Emerald Isle and the major improvements to the dock system. At no time did any of this cost St James Township a dime. At one time (I have been away from BITA) we got around $500,000 each year to provide funds for new equipment like buses and trucks, parking lot, BITA building and the storage building near the parking lot up by the old lumber yard. The State of Michigan through BITA pays all fuel cost. Technically The State of Michigan owns the Emerald Isle, Dock area except for the building, BITA bldg. across the street, parking lot and Storage bldg. and all equipment such as trucks, ramps etc.

As you can see the State and US government have helped Beaver Island a lot over the years.

My point, in this forum discussion, is why wouldn't Peaine Township want to have a say in the Authority. In ten years a new RFP will be given out.

Sorry it was so long. I like single line answers.
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
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Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:39 pm 
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It amazes me how the whole consolidation got turned around. All the strong supporters who claim facts to support consolidation, meetings to be set, volunteers are working on perfect numbers ect. Are now sitting back and demanding answers from non-supporters. So here is a stand from a voter in my words. So we have no solid information yet on consolidation, no figures, no tax projections, no attorney fee estimates, no projected Township salaries, no answer as to why consolidation will help the future of Beaver Island. So as a voter I am going to vote yes on consolidation until you non-supporters can prove to me why this is not a good idea for the Island. I would of course vote yes, wouldnít you fellow voters?? It would be like voting for a President that you donít even know until someone proved to you why you shouldnít. Is there any thinking in any of this??

John McCafferty
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Andy's Grooming Barn



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:43 pm 
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Diversity is good division is not - absolutely I agree with you on that and I feel this is something we need to fix, although I disagree that just combining townships will fix this and in the past we didn't have division when there were 2 or 3 townships.

transportation, possibilities of the marina, and launches are really vital needs for our community- I agree this is something we need to look at as well, not sure the finances of those things, concerns what I hear from comments on the forum but I have no idea. We have other joint entities and if the people we elected decided it was in both townships best interest to join those as well I am all for it but I don't know enough about the situation to answer that. Although in Bill's one statement he commented there was no reason to consolidate to join these two areas if people should decide that is what should be done. There is a lot of cost in redoing all the joint entities compared to just combining 2 of them so maybe this is something that should be looked at more closely by our township officials.

unity with boards like the Planning Commission, Board of Review, lawyers and accountants for all and I know there were a lot more of those pointed out - I do agree this would be a benefit but somebody would have to show me where these changes would be a large enough finical gain to do this, there isn't enough money to be saved in these areas to make so taxes would not go up in Peaine township, so not enough benefit for the cost.

To know that even in the worst case scenario if you own property in both townships that your taxes will go down overall - Obviously you know something I do not so please show me the figures for this because what I am seeing is in the best case taxes will go up in Peaine in the worst case taxes will REALLY go up. Although you with have property in both townships will probably do just fine, most of us don't own property in both townships and I think here we should be looking at what is best for the majority not the few.

I can go to one township meeting. There will not be two buildings for the same purpose and that the St James one could maybe not be sold but repurposed as an added attraction like a museum - with you owning property in both townships I could completely see this being a benefit for you. Although if the hall were not sold I guess I would ask where the money come from for the consolidation?

The severely underutilized and not so public airport in Peaine will have to open up to more people for use of it - I guess I am not sure what this means, are others not allowed to use this now, I would need more information before I could understand this statement.

There will be less nepotism with less positions to fill. I am not saying that it is a problem right now but it has been in the past. - unless you can back up a statement about your elected officials I just don't think that should be made and if that is happening or has happened then there are steps to hold them accountable so use the system in place to do so and shame on people for not holding official accountable if this is true.

The Grant opportunities will be larger for the island as a whole when in regard to serving a larger population. Always a Grant criteria! Maybe we get a Wellness Center and pool for taxpayers that we can all make use of. - I don't know enough about the grants to know if we have a larger pool that we get better grants that might be so, my only concern with this is if we were to build a wellness center and pool and grants paid for that, we still have to pay for the up keep through the years. I have heard many people complain about grant money and us over building because we have the grant money, then the buildings are under utilized that we are now paying for.

I think the one thing that was not covered is the figures and since these are "businesses" I think they have to be run and looked at as soon. Financials would be a major issue in doing so.

I think Carol brought up many good points and by us looking at both sides of the issue will help us make a better educated vote.
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Andy Kohls
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Wkohls



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:24 pm 
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A few observations with respect to Carol's post. Thanks to all for taking the time to consider these thoughts . . .

I was referring to the positives I have seen of being able to support the Island as a whole unit. Diversity is good division is not.

The division that I see is more fundamental than St. James versus Peaine and, frankly, I see little division between the township boards. Explain how consolidation will achieve some sort of unity.

I see where having a significant say in the transportation, possibilities of the marina, and launches are really vital needs for our community.

The townships do not have to consolidate to achieve this.

The benefits of unity with boards like the Planning Commission, Board of Review, lawyers and accountants for all and I know there were a lot more of those pointed out.

Your point isnít clear. . . unity? If you are claiming cost savings, please note that the budget for attorney fees in Peaineís general fund was $6,000 for the current year.

The ability to vote for or against any thing on the Island is a positive to me. To feel like we belong to all of these organizations and not split hairs over who contributes what.

But, if I understand correctly, consolidating boards will limit opportunities for constituent participation in township affairs.

To know that even in the worst case scenario if you own property in both townships that your taxes will go down overall. That is a benefit to me and I certainly felt it writing my checks to the townships just recently. Deadline folks to pay your taxes.

Please provide factual support for this assertion.

I can go to one township meeting. There will not be two buildings for the same purpose and that the St James one could maybe not be sold but repurposed as an added attraction like a museum. We need more things for tourists to do.

You do not need to consolidate to sell or repurpose buildings or other real estate.

The severely underutilized and not so public airport in Peaine will have to open up to more people for use of it.

Please explain.

There will be less nepotism with less positions to fill. I am not saying that it is a problem right now but it has been in the past. I do not have facts on the amount of that. There will be a larger pool to pull from with less positions.

If itís not broken why fix it? Again, fewer boards means few opportunities to participate in township government.

The Grant opportunities will be larger for the island as a whole when in regard to serving a larger population. Always a Grant criteria! Maybe we get a Wellness Center and pool for taxpayers that we can all make use of.

Please provide factual support.
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meadefamily



Joined: 17 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:41 pm 
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Ken,

First of all thank you for your reply. There has to be the "rest of the story". If things were that good with BITA/BICO then why is there posturing going on right now on the forum to bring them down? There is clearly a movement against the them as there was for the health center. If the rest of the story involves bringing others down or calling someone out then please reframe from answering publically and send me a private message. My intent is NOT to start another storm.

If this is so attractive then why would St. James want to give all this up and have others with a voice?

If this in an area that is running so well and has huge dollars as you indicated then why would consolidation be beneficial for the running?

My questions may be elementary and if they are I apologize, I truly want to understand the dynamics and motivations behind the consolidation.

I respect that you have been VERY active and VERY supportive of BI for years, and I am sincerely grateful for your efforts as there is no doubt we have all reaped the benefits of your hard work.

Thank you

Kathe
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carolburton



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:11 pm 
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Thank you Andy and others we have now reached real debate!

Thanks for acknowledging the fact that we need to take a look at the managing of transportation and these vital needs together. I hope it is a concern on the agenda to look at.

In regard to the Planning Boards etc. savings is not a concern as we would be doing the same work just jointly but to your point they may not be consuming a large amount of dollars. It may be less repetitive and more focused on being aligned with each other though. I see it as managing more effectively for the goals of the Island. I would like to see what changes like those would mean not in dollars but on how it would change the structure.

I am waiting for the finals to come in from both sides so that I can compare for myself why or why not our taxes would or would not go up. The last I saw from the non-consolidation was an increase for Peaine and more of a decrease for for St James which would level it out at less taxes overall if you have property in both. If I lived in St James that is a big reason to vote yes. If you own properties in both another vote yes. Peanie a no vote I am sure. I am looking for more comparisons that show less of an increase or none at all. Being patient is not easy, waiting for those facts.

Township hall - I think that there may be other sale opportunities out there. I don't know what they are but I am sure a solution could be found. We also don't know what the cost is yet and how that will be managed. I believe that will depend on what the consolidation committee determined was necessary to get the job done. We can agree that we need more things to do and see to attract visitors.

The township airport used to offer water to campers and off the grid property owners. The doors used to be open and welcoming. It is now a privately run airport. I would like to know the amount of planes that use the airport and how many are from private enterprise. Now I have nothing against them for taking advantage of the opportunity but how do the citizens of Beaver Island benefit form that building. More than once I have stopped and the doors are locked. What happened to the water? What about the parking that happens not for people that own planes but for the private enterprise. Are we gathering a fee? or can anyone just stop by and leave a vehicle. There has never been a good example of our tax dollars at work from this building or proof that it is working for us. Is there a room for a pilot or family if they are trapped here? A car for them to get to town? Emergency phone line? What is that businesses contribution other than a airport? This is a personal sore one for me when I pay taxes for it but feel that it isn't for the taxpayer. I guess I am glad we can get off the island from two locations but we could do that before this building. It could have been built much more efficiently and designed to be an asset to the island not just a pretty big building in the middle of nowhere.

Nepotism - No one can pretend that it hasn't existed. That is certainly not true. It may not be active now but it has in the past. You cannot share these seats with family members and be blind to the fact that it will arise on the same board or cross board. No blame was pointed to anyone but as you point out - steps to hold them accountable - is not an easy route in this close of a community as we have all seen. Avoiding it is the best method.

With a Wellness Center there would be residence memberships and visitor memberships just like other places. That would cover a large portion of it. Grant money is spent to better the community and if it can then support itself by being well organized and run then use the Grant money. This would be a huge step in making Beaver Island a better community to live in.

I agree that figures should come next and I hope they do. We can all pull up the township budgets and do a little investigating ourselves before then. Only on full screen though Smile the sites do not show the left side of the page in reduced view.

Thanks again for your specific replies to my comments.
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ktaylor



Joined: 02 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:21 pm 
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Kathe - I don't know anything about trying to bring BITA/BIBCO down.

I just present some facts that you asked for without taking sides. I will let others decide for themselves. This is just one of the many questions for and against consolidation. I truly believe we should be one big Island under one governing body. That is just my opinion. If spending money to get this done is necessary, so be it. I have certainly wasted my own money over the years. I still laugh at the $2,500 worth of emergency cots I donated to the Med Center rotting in the basement of the old medical center. No one is at fault there. The other $2,500 went to emergency medications including suppositories for those that might have had suffered a poison gas attack and couldn't swallow. Sometimes we miss the mark, but things come out okay in the end. I am very positive about that.
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meadefamily



Joined: 17 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:30 pm 
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Ken,

My choice of words may have been poor. I appreciate your response but my questions still were not answered.

If you look back at a thread a few lines down you will see one about BITA/BIBCO and Darby is asking for all kinds of information, so fairly obvious that he perceives there are major issues.

My question is, if there are so many issues and problems within the structure now why would another township want to inherit that?

If it is as successful and has monies then why would St. James want to give it up.

You asked me why wouldn't the township want to be part of it...I guess my question was why would they care to be, it is not in their township. I don't see where this is enough reason to consolidate.

On a side note...the visual of suppositories and rotting cots is good! Thank you for sharing.

Kathe
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Andy's Grooming Barn



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:37 pm 
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My understanding and I may not have everything exactly correct as it is all confusing. When I read Ken's post and it stated that state pays for fuel etc. etc. it made it sound to me that most all of the cost where paid by the BITA (State) and BIBCO was making out pretty good but after asking questions things of course are not as they seem.

No mileage is taken out from St. James for BITA, this would not be a joint entity as people have implied although if consolidated you could then be on the board but their is a contract between the two and guidelines that must be followed so it isn't as it seems.

Also BIBCO is privately owned it is funded through BITA (State) Under operations BIBCO has to reimburse BITA for half of the costs as well as 10% of state grants. So hypothetically if BITA pays $500,000 in fuel for the Emerald Isl then BIBCO has to pay $250,000 of that back, the state is paying for far from everything for BIBCO. With that said BITA pays nothing for the Beaver Islander because they do not own any of her, as well as they pay nothing for any of Charlevoix BIBCO or any payroll.

This is far from all of the details of it but hopefully it gives a better idea on how things are run, I truly had not idea until I picked up the phone and asked somebody.

This is no financial gain or loss for the townships with BITA/BIBCO so I am not sure why we have this on the table for this discussion
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Andy Kohls
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meadefamily



Joined: 17 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:38 pm 
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Very Happy

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meadefamily



Joined: 17 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:41 pm 
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Thank you Andy...That helps understand.

Edited to remove question, Andy answered it above.

Kathe


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ktaylor



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:44 pm 
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Kathe- Both Buddy Martin and John McCafferty have been disgusted over the years by the fact the BITA can't provide help. With John is was a freight cost issue and at one time it was the fact that Buddy could not get subsidies for his operation. I understand their problem and would encourage them to think about whether it would be different if they were on the board or had other Peaine township citizens represented. I don't care either way. I was hoping to get something positive out there for them to think about. Same thing with selling off excess property. If they sell the old medical center they would have to move the 100 cots (not sure how many) I bought. I won't say who wanted them but he was on the Medical Center board.
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meadefamily



Joined: 17 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:48 pm 
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Ken,

I am not sure that would have helped, as if they were on the board that would have been a conflict...Maybe you should move some of those cots down past the four corners. If the consolidation passes and the taxes go up as I am afraid they will, we may all need them down here, as we won't be able to afford our homes! Very Happy

Kathe
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