Niles Township adds charter to its title

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles Township was named Niles Charter Township Monday night.
The change became official with a unanimous vote at the regular meeting of the township's board of trustees.
The board indicated the change would come without an increase in taxes.
If the move to charter status was voted on and passed in a general election, the township would have had the ability to levy an increase in taxes up to 5 mills. However, board members said the township would be unable to raise taxes beyond the current 1 mills because the board itself passed the resolution.
Board members said the change was made for the same reasons discussed March 21, when a resolution was passed asking Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt to post the township's intentions in the Niles Daily Star.
Similar comments were made by Treasurer James Ringler on March 21.
The decision to move to a charter township was not brought on by a threat of annexation, Ringer added.
The possibility of becoming a charter township was discussed in the past by the board. Durm-Hiatt said a notice indicating Niles Township was eligible to become a charter township was received by the board in August of 2001. But, no one on the board could say why action was not previously taken.
Durm-Hiatt said she was required to publish two notices in the paper 15 days apart. The public then had 60 days to respond by petition. No petitions of disagreement were received by the board.
Durm-Hiatt also said a new logo for Niles Charter Township is being considered. The design may include references to the township's four zoning areas - agriculture, commercial, residential and industrial.
A $10 capital improvement fee for Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service was also approved Monday night. The charge applies to developed and occupied parcels in the township. Trustee Kevin Tonkin said fee would apply to about 5,000 parcels in the township.
The charge is $3 less than last year. Executive Director of SMCAS Marlene Beach said the cost was raised last year to pay for state mandated equipment changes. But, Beach said the state withdrew the requirements so there was no reason for SMCAS to charge the same amount in 2006.
It was also announced Monday night the public can view a draft of a Transportation Participation Plan for the Twin Cities Area Transportation Study and the Niles/Buchanan/Cass Area Transportation Study being developed by the Southwestern Michigan Commission, which will soon be named the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission.
A 45-day comment and review period will end July 14.
Comments and questions can be stated at the Southwestern Michigan Commission meeting July 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence or by contacting Rachel Tupica, associate planner for the Southwestern Michigan Commission, at 269-925-1137 ext. 24 or by email at
Other items approved Monday night by the board of trustees included:
A resolution to purchase updates to the township's geographic information system (GIS) aerial maps at a cost of about $2,340.
The purchase of the former Liggett Shell property near Eastside Shopping center as a tax reversion property for $1,966.77, plus an environmental study for the property not to exceed the cost of $2,500.