Archived Story

Ruff leaving Niles Twp. F.D.

Published 8:47pm Monday, October 1, 2012


Niles Charter Township board received notification Monday night of Lt. Robert Ruff’s pending resignation to become North Berrien Fire Rescue chief.

Ruff would leave effective Oct. 12 to lead a 32-firefighter department which protects the city of Coloma and Coloma and Hagar townships.

Ruff was selected by the fire board last month in Riverside.

The firefighter and training officer has been so employed the past 9 years and was chosen from 18 applicants whittled to three finalists.

“I truly enjoyed my years here,” Ruff wrote in the letter Chief Gary Brovold shared. “Leaving for my new position will surely be a bittersweet moment.”


Ballots delayed


Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt said ballots were supposed to arrive last week, but will not be available until next week because the state Supreme Court had to rule on the six ballot proposals.

“They printed ours, and we were supposed to get them this week Wednesday or Thursday,” she said, “but there was another problem, and they have to be reprinted. They prefold the ones for absentee voters. The fold was right on an arrow, so it could look like a mark. They are adjusting it, so we won’t get them until next week.”

Durm-Hiatt said Treasurer-elect John Engel withdrew from the Nov. 6 election, “but you can’t resign from something you haven’t earned yet. He has write-in opposition, but ,if he wins, he’ll have to resign at that time or not take the oath of office and leave it vacant for the new board to appoint.”


Resolution backs

Niles services


The board voted 6-0 to maintain Berrien County services in the Niles area. Trustee Richard Noble was absent.

The township “has been made aware of budget cuts within Berrien County which may result in compromises of South County services,” read Durm-Hiatt. “The greater Niles-Buchanan area composes over one-fourth of Berrien County’s population and the township portion of county taxes is $2,029,357 for 2011. Any cutbacks in services will place an undue burden on taxpayers and citizens.”

Bertrand and Buchanan townships also joined Niles City Council in taking a stand.


Other issues

N The board authorized Trustee Richard Cooper to sit in on the South 11th Street corridor committee working with McKenna Associates to develop a zoning overlay so the building moratorium can be lifted.

N The board also adopted Cooper’s and Trustee Gary Conover’s motion clarifying duties for ordinance enforcement officers and how they process complaints.

The building committee recommended that the staff, Jeff Dunlap, Stefanie Woodrick and Pat Legatt, first log complaints into the system.

They also discussed whether or not anonymous complaints should be acted upon.

N James Smith of 189 Knott Rd., advised the board he has been filing blight complaints for 13 years, but previously there were no enforcement teeth to address them. He made a complaint Monday on property on Matthew Road.

“I’m going to be on this until it’s taken care of, if I have to come here twice a month,” Smith said.

Ewert’s demolition is expected to commence Oct. 4.


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