Archived Story

Niles Twp. taking stand on services

Published 12:42pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Niles Charter Township’s board let Berrien County know it opposes moving for its court from the South County Building in Niles to St. Joseph.

The board voted unanimously Monday night to compose the resolution.

Trustee Richard Cooper made the motion, seconded by Trustee Gary Conover, to support keeping services in Niles.

Treasurer James Ringler did question the need for the resolution as Bill Wolf, the county administrator, has said, at this point, he is doing nothing to move court services.


Campus construction debated


Wolf Aug. 9 discussed options to address needs of animal control and the health department as part of the 2013 budget process, such as building a campus over the next 15 to 20 years on 48 acres on Napier Avenue near Lake Michigan College in Benton Township.

Wolf estimated the cost of constructing animal control and health department facilities at $10.7 million to $13.7 million.

A second option was acquiring 26 adjacent acres with two large buildings leased by Tyler Honda, moving to a new home in Lincoln Township.

Existing structures could be remodeled for animal control and the health department at a projected cost of $7.3 million to $8.3 million with future space for Berrien Bus.


Traffic light sought


The township, which heard the stretch is “chaotic” at lunch time, will look into obtaining a stoplight at South 11th and Fort streets, where the Niles meets Niles Township.

“It’s a unique intersection because Fort Street is the county road commission, 11th Street is a state highway. A lot of people have to work together, and I know it’s been looked at many, many times,” Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt said.

Previous studies concluded cross-traffic on Fort Street didn’t warrant a signal.

“It is a bad corner, there are no two ways about it,” Trustee Richard Noble said.

County Commissioner Zach Perkins said the Niles-Buchanan-Cass Area Transportation Study (NATS) meets Tuesday at 2:30 at the city council chamber at the city fire station, 1345 E. Main St.


Mazurek introduced


Sheriff Paul Bailey presented Sgt. Bob Mazurek as the new township representative, succeeding Lt. Steve Campbell, whose recent promotion puts him  on the north patrol midnight shift.

Mazurek has been with the department for 13 years.

“I submitted my budget with no cuts in it,” Bailey said, “so commissioners have to decide what’s going to happen. In the last six years, I’ve lost 13 deputies from retirements. Commissioners have done a good job not overspending. We have $15 million in contingency, $37 million in the tax revolving fund, with $1.9 million to figure out where to cut. They’ve got some tough decisions to make.”

There are at least four patrol cars on the road apart from those from Niles, New Buffalo and Watervliet townships.

“That includes the unincorporated areas — Bertrand, Galien, Buchanan, Pipestone, Sodus, Berrien Township, Bainbridge and Hagar that we cover along with the state police,” the sheriff said.

Campbell reported the department worked 362 complaints in the township in July, with 74 tickets issued and 23 arrests.

Countywide, there were 1,465 complaints, 234 tickets and 131 arrests.


Demolition bids


The township awarded a $24,750 contract for demolition and asbestos abatement of Ewert’s Pets, 2059 S. Third St., to B G Construction, Buchanan.

The board decided to let a new Chicken Coop restaurant on Ind.-933 tap into its sewer system.

The board put off an Oak Manor sidewalk project for 21 properties because it would consume almost $10,000 of $14,691 left in the budget.


Coming up


Trustee Richard Cooper said Enbridge will have an informational program on its pipeline project at the township hall at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Treasurer James Ringler said hydrant flushing has been reset for Oct. 1-5.


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