2017-06-15 / Front Page

Board approves $99K contract for water inspections

May consider loosening fireworks ordinance
By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Because Department of Public Works functions related to water quality monitoring have increased; primarily due to the impending water source change from Detroit to KWA; Township Director of Public Works, Jeff Sears recently advised the township board he would like to outsource specific duties to a reputable firm to enable staff to perform the increased measurements.

Those duties involve testing what is known as a ‘backflow prevention’ device which is installed in businesses, hospitals, and other commercial buildings, and keeps drinking water safe by preventing sanitary water from getting into drinking water in a low pressure water situation.

The State of Michigan requires a small percentage of these to be inspected each year to they are in working order, and tested by those licensed to do so, including many plumbers.

In the past, Sears said, the DPW staff has been more than vigilant in this process in inspecting 100 percent of these locations to ensure water safety.

Genesys alone has more than 100 of these devices, and the cross connection inspections are one function he feels comfortable being performed by an outside contractor, and recommended that be HydroCorp, out of Troy.

Sears feels confident they can handle the inspections and free up township staff for other, more important work.

Additionally, he added this will enhance the record keeping of these inspections, as some previous history of the inspection program is not all in one place in the township. HydroCorp will start with 100 percent inspection in year one, building a baseline database for future use, and year two and three will follow the state guidelines.

The cost of the program, at $99,240, will be spread out over the three years on a monthly payment plan, and will be covered under currently budgeted operational expenses.

In other business the board heard a presentation by the Assessing Department staff, explaining how they worked and approved a $22,135 software annual support and license agreement for CityWorks, which is essential to DPW and other township departments.

Sears said it’s a very valuable tool and recently enabled his workers to be more mobile by using it on tablets in the field.

The board ratified a tentative agreement with AFSCME Chapter W, which covers mostly clerical and DPW personnel.

The Board approved a resolution to release, relinquish and remise a sanitary sewer easement on the Grand Blanc Assisted Living property on Pagels Drive in the city. Sears said they are not even sure how the township was historically named as an interested party on the title and it isn’t something they need and has no monetary value to them.

During public comment, resident Scott Cain said he hoped the board would consider modifying the fireworks ordinance, although it can’t be done in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

The township has adopted the State of Michigan ordinance which allows fireworks the day before, the day of and the day after a national holiday, but doesn’t restrict the time. Local municipalities can make the ordinance looser, but not more restrictive then the state law.

Cain said he hoped they would allow them on the weekend prior or the weekend following, especially as Independence Day falls on a weekday the next three years.”There’s going to be parties on the weekend,” he said, and thought perhaps the board might be able to get something in place for the Labor Day holiday.

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