Brandywine Shores road improvement project complete

NILES TOWNSHIP — The Niles Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to approve the establishment of a special assessment district roll, which will help to fund the Brandywine Shores road improvement project.

Residents of the Niles Township subdivision, who have been long been advocating for the project, had about 5 miles of road repaved earlier this year. A construction bid was awarded o South Bend-based Reith-Riley. The project was set to be complete before Oct. 1 and was approximated to cost about $693,464. The township will pay about half the cost and the rest will be levied out to residents through a 10-year special assessment district. On Monday, trustees illustrated that subdivision residents will pay about $1,796 and they established the first payment would be due Sept. 1. Residents will also pay a 3.5 percent interest rate on the SAD.

Supervisor Jim Stover said construction on the re-pavement project has been completed. The establishment of the role is the last part of the project.

Trustee Terry Eull said Monday night’s vote was a final step in completing the project. 

“[it’s] the final motion after three years,” Eull said.

Prior to voting on the agenda item, residents of Brandywine Shores were given a chance to comment during a public hearing.

One resident, Joseph Kemp, pointed out that the material on some of the driveways seemed different than others. He said some driveways got fresh asphalt, while others appeared to be patched.

“I see it as a serious issue once the weather starts changing,” Kemp said.

Stover said he would be contacting the Berrien County Road Department to get answers on this.

A couple also expressed some concerns about whether combining their parcels for the SAD would change the legal status of permits they had obtained for their properties. Denise Kasprzak, zoning administrator, said she did not believe it would change the status of the special land use permit. Trustees said they would also be looking into this further. 

Also Monday night:

• Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to establish township-wide trick or treat times to match the city of Niles. Trick or treat times are 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. Niles Township Fire Chief reminded residents that there is to be no leaf burning on the day of Halloween, so as to assure air quality for children who will be trick-or-treating.

• Trustees voted unanimously to roll over the delinquent bills for water, sewer, water assessment and noxious weeds, Mission Hills and Harrah Road over to the winter tax bill. This means residents or businesses who have been delinquent on bills will see the delinquent charges on their next bill for collection.

• Trustees voted unanimously to approve Sabrina Strasser as a new volunteer firefighter.

• Berrien County Sheriff’s Detective/Lt. Fred Laesch gave a police report, illustrating the number of arrests, complaints and tickets issued for the month of August.

• Jim Curran, the Berrien County District 11 commissioner, also presented and gave a brief update on the transportation study, which has aimed at consolidating bus systems in Berrien County. He said commissioners and some local county and city leaders will be looking to form a committee and hopefully determine a next step to improve local transportation. He also said new signage and fencing will be placed at Madeline Bertrand Park. Commissioners have also completed end-of-the-year budget hearings.

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