Niles Charter Township building to reopen June 8

NILES — Hours after Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order was lifted, the Niles Charter Township Board of Trustees met for its regularly scheduled meeting.

Office and operational precautions took the center of discussion as the Board of Trustees voted to reopen its doors to the public on Monday, June 8.

The board members discussed Whitmer’s recent executive order lifting the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order on Monday afternoon

“I’m just sitting here and don’t want to wait for two weeks while retail and restaurants, everything else is open,” said Treasurer Jim Ringler.

The board members discussed the safest way to open the township building, including weighing whether to have a path through the building from entrance to exit. The board members also discussed installing hand sanitizer stations and distributing personal protective equipment to staff as they come back to work. The board opted to fine tune its details on opening through the week, prior to June 8.

Clerk Terry Eull said during committee reports that Niles Charter Township is already preparing for the upcoming election in November. The Board of Trustees took into consideration continued precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to have pens, but everyone gets a pen to fill [their ballot] in and they will take them,” Eull said. “Every time someone votes in one of the little boxes, someone is going to wipe it down.”

Election workers will be provided masks and face shields. At this time, the Niles Charter Township Board is not procuring sneeze guards for election day.

With COVID-19 still a concern, the demand for absentee ballots has risen in the township.

“We sent out asking if anyone wanted to be on the permanent mailing list for absentee ballots,” Eull said.

The response has almost doubled the usual number of absentee ballots that the township processes during elections.

In other business, the board voted to pass its consent agenda, which included the June 1 expenditures and transfers of $116,577.91 and a pickleball agreement for 2020, opening the courts in South Fireman’s Park.

The Michiana Pickleball Association proposed its agreement to utilize the facilities, according to Ringler.

“They want to socially distance by levels of ability,” Trustee Chris Vella said.

The board discussed the safety of the activity, in terms of COVID-19. With outdoor gatherings adjusted by the recent executive order up to 100 attendants, the board voted to pass the Pickleball Agreement for the year 5 – 1, with Vella opposing. Vella’s concern was safety precautions and social distancing.

Board members acknowledged Vella’s concerns, but agreed that it was the Michiana Pickleball Association’s responsibility to monitor the players and activities.