Niles Township officials list 2015 accomplishments, goals for 2016

From repainting the Fairfield Drive water tower to the creation of new ordinance regarding residential chickens, Niles Township leaders were busy in 2015.

The Daily Star asked township officials to highlight some of the township’s accomplishments in 2015 and provide a list of what it hopes to achieve in 2016.

The full list is as follows:

 

Water and Sewer department

2015 accomplishments

• Water tower was painted, drilled a new well, installed variable frequency drives on two well pumps.

• Upgraded all lift station alarms to third generation mobile technology

• Received $1 million grant for stormwater and wastewater asset management

• Replaced 1,300 feet of sewer force main on West River Road

2016 goals

• Paint fire hydrants and put new well into operation.

• Upgrade and maintain wastewater system as needed

 

Fire Department

2015 accomplishments

• Responded to 409 calls for services

• Fire prevention education throughout all local schools

• Acquired a 2010 emergency vehicle from a grant with Enbridge pipeline

• Installed 65 donated smoke alarms into 19 homes. Performed home safety inspections with the residents receiving the smoke alarms.

2016 Goals

• Maintain and improve public service and fire education programs

• Convert a donated trailer into a Rehabilitation Unit for use by fire fighters during extended calls.

 

Roads

2015 accomplishments

• Nine miles of primary roads seal coated by the road commission

• 1/2 mile upgrading gravel road to prime and double seal

• 1 1/4 mile of grading ditching on gravel roads

2016 goals

• The township board appropriated $100,000 for road improvements in 2016. This money will be spent on gravel and sealcoat roads. Gravel for roads is $17,000 per mile. Rebuild sealcoat roads cost $80,000 per mile. Bituminous roads rebuild is $118,000 per mile.

• Identify and find funds to resolve drainage issues in Oak Manor and Fulkerson Park subdivisions.

 

Sidewalks

2015 accomplishments

• Inventoried all sidewalks in need of repair.

• Graded damaged sidewalks by lift and causes of lift.

• Identified those sidewalks that are damaged by cracks.

2016 goals

• The township board appropriated $25,000 to repair sections of sidewalks.

• Seek a federal grant for safe routes to school to fund the cost of replacing faulty sidewalks or build new sidewalks.

 

Tree Removal

2015 accomplishments

• Removed eight dead trees that were in the public right of way that could cause property damage.

2016 Goals

• The township board appropriated $20,000 for tree removal within the Public right of way that could cause property damage. Target is 20 to 25 trees.

 

Ordinance enforcement and zoning

2015 accomplishments

• Prepared new zoning ordinance

• Prepared ordinance for the keeping of chickens

• 126 zoning compliance permits

• Four variance hearings

• Training on effective meetings for members of the planning commission, zoning board of appeals and members of similar boards from surrounding jurisdictions.

2016 goals

• Update standards for accessory buildings

• Develop pamphlets for the public regarding accessory structures, signage and building permitting

• Update the master plan as required by law

• Modify application procedures and forms to be more user-friendly

• Monitor and address blighted properties

• Encourage involvement of pubic in development of the township

 

Building department

2015 accomplishments

• Issued 103 building permits, 121 electrical permits, 111 mechanical permits, 62 plumbing permits, eight fire affidavits and 126 zoning permits

• Total construction value of $4,334,000

2016 goals

• Continue to furnish the highest quality service

• Address each situation on a courteous and expedited manner, to protect the residents by confirming proper licensing of contractors, to streamline the permit process and educate the residents in building procedures.

 

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department police service

2015 accomplishments

• 3,951 Calls for Service; 1,011 of these calls resulted in arrests or prosecution requests

• 509 traffic citations

• 312 arrests

• 10 search warrant’s for illegal narcotics

• Received training in several different areas, including administering Narcan nasal spray for use in opioid overdose cases

• Investigated an attempted murder on North 5th Street and various armed robberies along South 11th Street business corridor

2016 goals

• Continue quality law enforcement to the citizens and visitors in Niles Township

• Continue quality training to provide the best police service available

• Become more involved with the schools to provide positive relationships with those involved in the education community

 

Parks and recreation

2015 accomplishments

• Purchased a 21-acre parcel for expansion of park/trail facilities;

• Submitted paperwork for a grant to develop the 1-mile extension of the trail north to the Niles city limits at Third and Fort Streets

• Erected pet waste stations to all six township parks and the trail

• Erected six benches along the trail

• Installed security fencing and landscaping to the Community Park on Bond Street

• Comprehensive grooming or rustic trails in the Community Park and Brandywine Creek Nature Park.

2016 goals

• Secure grant funding for construction of phase two of the River Valley Trail

• Erect entry/information signs at four parks

• Amend five-year parks master plan

• Identify options and financing to Community Park and ball diamonds

• Upgrade bathrooms and erect sun shelters to some Parks

• Explore options to finance and repair basketball courts at Fulkerson Park

• Resurface baseball diamond at Fulkerson Park

• Add two American Disabilities Act compliant portable toilets along River Valley Trail

• Install a LED information sign at Bell Road Trail kiosk.

 

Miscellaneous

• Appropriated funds for a quarterly newsletter for 2016. It will contain information on elections, tax collection, where tax dollars go, etc.

• The township board increased the appropriation for roads improvement by 250 percent from 2015 and 100 percent for tree removal. Now that the funding is in place, an improvement plan needs to be developed for the improvements and tree removal.

• Repairing sidewalk damage is a priority. The township will seek a federal grant to help with some of the costs.

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