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Lima Township Hall

By Lisa Carolin

There may be a decision in the months to come about whether or not to build a new building on the property where Lima Township Hall is located. At the Lima Township Board’s May 8 meeting, board members spoke to a full house of interested residents on the subject.

Supervisor Craig Maier said that Ed Greenleaf, who is on the Capital Improvements Committee, was ill, but asked Maier to share his report.

“Ed recommends that the board pursue a new structure for a new town hall,” said Maier. “All we need to decide is that we want to do something.”

Maier suggested approving a cap of $35,000 on conceptual work that would include an engineering study to determine if another building will fit on the site and if so where it could go. Trustee Duane Luick suggested that more information was needed before the expenditure should be approved, and the board voted unanimously to table the discussion.

A number of people spoke on the subject during the public comment times. Comments ranged from those who want to maintain the current Lima Township Hall as an historic site to those who believe it is not a wise use of taxpayers’ money.

“I’m a fifth generation owner of my family’s farm and would like to establish a historic district that would include this building,” said Florence Beach.

One resident, who said he’d lived in Lima Township for more than 80 years, offered to donate money for five gallons of gasoline implying that he’d like to see the hall burned down.

One of the concerns stated by several people about the existing hall is that it is not large enough to accommodate the number of voters who show up for major elections.

The topic of how to proceed with the decision of whether or not to build another town hall is tentatively scheduled for the board’s June meeting.

The board also discussed medical marijuana.

“On Dec. 15, 2017, it will become legal to grow medical marijuana in Michigan,” said Luick. “They would have to go through the township to be legal.”

“If we do not have an ordinance supporting it, they can’t in Lima Township,” said Maier. “If we do nothing, it makes all activities with marijuana illegal.”

The topic came up because the township has received calls from people interested in opening medical marijuana dispensaries. Maier estimates that half a dozen growers live in Lima Township.

“Why the hell should the township spend money unless we’re going to make some money?” asked trustee Don Laier.

“The township gets to tax it,” said Clerk Elaine Bater.

“I’m very uncomfortable with this at the moment because the feds and state have yet to come to an agreement about what’s legal and what’s not,” said Maier. “I’m neither for or against it at this time.”

The board unanimously voted to table the discussion pending further investigation.

The board did take action on a request by Comcast unanimously approving a 10-year contract with Comcast as part of the Michigan Uniform Video Service Local Franchise Agreement Renewal.  Maier explained that Comcast pays 5 percent of its profits to have their lines in the township, and that works out to be close to $3,400 every quarter.

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