Board Meetings

Approved (11/14/2023) Minutes, October 10 Meeting of the Lovells Township Board


Regular Meeting of the Lovells Township Board

October 10, 2023


PRESENT:  Cheryl Hopp, Heather Lovell, Ken Ball, Tamara Kengel and Gary A. Neumann.


ALSO PRESENT  Dave Soderquist, Bill Gergorsky, Ann Duby, John Petroff, Joan Petroff, Jo Johnson, John Orin, Jan Orin, Ken Minard, Joanne Phillips, Martha Duby, Mike Mosser, Pam Plants, Jack Plants, Brandon Dewey, Tim Hering, Jim Shiflett.

Supervisor Neumann called the Board Meeting to order at 10:00AM   followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.  Per Agenda, Supervisor Neumann Moved, Lovell Support to recess the regular board and move the meeting to a Public Hearing on the Fire/EMS and Landfill budgets.  Voice Vote All Ayes, the motion carried and Regular Board Meeting was recessed at 10:02AM.


Supervisor Neumann presented the board agreed proposed Lovells Township Fire and EMS Budget for 2024-25. The proposed budgeted income for Fire/EMS was presented as $96,500, split between the Special Assessment District ($66,500) equivalent to 1.0085 mills, a decrease of 0.0728 mills, applied to all properties and appearing on the Winter 2023 Tax Bill and the $30,000 “plus up” provided from the General Fund from PILT Revenues from the State.  The expenditures are estimated to be $92,300 providing a balanced budget with a small cushion.

Supervisor Neumann presented the board agreed proposed Lovells Township Landfill Budget for 2024-25.  The proposed budgeted income for Landfill (waste and recycling) is $91,200 split between the Special Assessment District for Improved Parcels ($91,100) and Collected User Fees of $1,100.  The Special Assessment District charge that will be applied to improved parcels to generate the budgeted income will be increased to $92.03 per.  This is a $5.21 increase and nets a balanced budget for these operations.  Public Comment was opened at 10:05 AM, there being none, Public Comment was Closed at 10:06 AM.  Motioned by Neumann, Supported by Hopp to Close the Public Hearing by Voice Vote, All Ayes

Public Hearing Closed and Regular Business Meeting Reopened at 10:07 AM

Supervisor Neumann moved, supported by Kengel to approve the Fire/EMS Budget as presented.  In a roll call vote, all approved. Motion Carried.

Supervisor Neumann moved, supported by Lovell to approve the Landfill Budget as presented.  In a roll call vote, all approved. Motion Carried.

Reading and approval of the minutes of our Regular Board Meeting September 12, 2023.  No Questions/Comments. Neumann moved to accept the minutes from September 12 as provided, Hopp supported.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes.  MOTION CARRIED

PRE PAID VOUCHERS:            Neumann moved, Lovell supported a motion to approve pre-paid vouchers From September 8, 2023 through October 5, 2023 as presented:  General Fund totaling $68,240.70; Direct Deposit Checks totaling $3,190.16; Fire Fund totaling $2,093.14; Landfill Fund totaling $8,679.35; and Liquor Fund totaling $78.62.  Exceptional Items noted was a payment of the pension liability to Ann C.  Duby.  The gross amount check was forwarded to the township along with the taxes and net payment instructions and the Township issued a check for the net amount. The bills for Wade Trim (Zoning Book Printing) and Fidlar Technologies (Liquor Inspection Forms) are also one-time type items.  In a roll call vote:  All Ayes.  MOTION CARRIED.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer’s September Report Received and Accepted as Presented.

Quarterly Profit and Loss Report was submitted and accepted. Exceptional Items include the “pass throughs” of Pension Payments for Cynthia Infante-Inman and Ann C. Duby.



Assessing- Focus is to be on building and demolition permit reconciliation until 12/1/2023 or so

Fire/EMS Department –   0 Fire Runs, 3 Medical Runs for September

Cemetery Sexton- Recommendation from the Sexton covered under New Business

Liquor Inspector- 3 Inspections, No issues noted

Zoning Administrator – 1 Permit Issued concerning a garage

Zoning Enforcement Officer – 2 Letters on concerning activities sent, one resolved, one is under investigation.


Board of Review – A December 2023 BOR is not necessary at this time

Historical Society – Activities are closing down for the season.  Next season’s focus to be on Cold Water Conservation.  New Member Lyle Kerns may join for next season.  There is also consideration to revise the LTHS scholarship guidelines to consider non-Kirtland Students.

Crawford County Planning Commission (CCPC)No Report

Lovells Township Planning Commission (LTPC) – The previous denial has been referred to Crawford County Circuit Court with a request to remand that decision back to the Lovells Township Planning Commission.  The advice of our Attorney is being sought with regards to how to proceed.


Zoning Board of Appeals – May have a case forthcoming regarding set-back distance from the river.

Lovells Media and Reading Center – Nothing new to report, Book Boxes and Library functioning well.


  • American Rescue Plan Act (COVID BUCKS). We have used approximately $5,000 of the $65,000 received by Lovells Township under this program.  The remaining monies must be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2025.  The previous recommendation to invest in additional Fire/EMS infrastructure and equipment is considered no longer viable due to staffing challenges.  Supervisor Neumann moved and Lovell supported to allocate up to $60,000 towards Crossroads Park.  Rollcall Vote: Neumann, Lovell, Kengel- Aye, Ball, Hopp:-Ney, Motion Carried.


  1. Parks and Recreation Committee Recommendations. The Parks and Rec committee brought forth several recommendations on how to proceed administering the Townships 2 Parks and the Access Site.  It was recommended to investigate forming a 501c3 like the Friends of the Lovells Township Fire/EMS to help secure donations.  Such a group would also include Douglas Park in its remit.   It was also recommended that such a group would primarily focus on securing funding for capital projects and that the Township budget would cover maintenance expense.  Concerning Douglas Park, the Committee recommended several maintenance level items it would like to see addressed.  The Board will instruct the Township maintenance person to attend these issues.  Camera oversight to enhance enforcement of good conduct was also mentioned.
  2. Snow Plow Bids. The meeting was paused for a brief recess to allow Neumann and Kengel to open, copy and distribute sealed bid packages received for Snow Plowing for the ’23-’24 season for review.  Three bid packages were submitted and all were found to be in conformance with the bid specification.  Upon review, Lovells moved, supported by Neumann to accept the bid of 360 Landscaping and Property Services for $2,800.  Roll Call Vote- All Ayes- Bid is hereby awarded to 360 Landscaping and Property Services.
  3. Holiday Schedule: Neumann moved to set a Holiday schedule to include closure of the Township Offices from Noon on Wednesday 11/22 to the regular business day (Tuesday) the following week.  Christmas closure proposed was from 3PM Thursday 12/21 /2023 through Monday, 1/1/2024, reopening normal business hours on 1/2/2024. Ball Supported, By voice vote all Ayes. Motion passed.  It should be noted that the Treasurer is required to keep an “open” office day of 8 hours during the end of December for Tax Remittance purposes.
  4. Fee Adjustment, Lovells Cemetery. Recent number of “Double” Cremains interments have suggested that an adjustment to the fee schedule may be needed to accommodate this request.  Sexton Lewicki recommends a $100 Fee for a “double” if interment will be in the same cavity.  Neumann Moved, Ball Support to accept the Sexton’s recommendation.  By Voice Vote, All Ayes, Motion Passed, the Fee Schedule will be amended.


  1. Change of Short-Term Rental Approval Process. Discussion on the way Lovells Township approves Short Term Rentals has led to the conclusion that the current process, through a Special Use Permit under our Zoning Ordinance does not serve well the community or the applicants. The Township’s Attorney has communicated that the more contemporary process is through a stand-alone Licensing Ordinance.  Neumann shared some features from an example Licensing Ordinance and suggested that the Board consider moving in that direction.  Included in that discussion was a request to the Board to reconsider the decision from September to not vote to suspend the current process.  This was explained as requiring several legal steps that would not likely be completed before a new system was put in place, so was not likely worthy of that effort.  It was suggested that we discourage applicants from filing under the current process, pending the new process to avoid duplication of fees and work.  The concept of “fast-tracking” or prioritizing existing SUP holders was floated.  Ball Moved, Neumann Supported, to Begin Developing a Lovells Specific Stand Alone STR Licensing Ordinance based on models provided.  Roll Call Vote, all Ayes.  We shall proceed to seek input and develop an STR Licensing Ordinance that better serves all stakeholders.
  2. Township Camera System. Ball discussed that the current security camera system is not operational from a retrieval of data perspective or complaint with NDAA (Nation Defense Authorization Act, which as a federal grantee Lovells Township falls under), as our current system is from The Peoples Republic of China.  We also are required to provide coverage for 75 days for AV Ballot Drop Boxes.  Proposals were received from EPS Security, successor to Maximum Security, our original provider.  Full Rebuild to Digital would be on the order of $9,000, Replacing the recorder with a digital version with remote access capabilities and two cameras to replace ones that are currently unreliable is $2,700 and a recommended $60/ month Preventive Maintenance/ Service fee.  Ball Moved, Lovells Supported to proceed with the small ( $2,700) upgrade to restore function and compliance.  Roll Call Vote: Ball, Kengel, Lovell, Hopp – Aye, Neumann Ney,  Motion Carries, we will proceed upgrading our Security Camera System.


  1. The Planning Commission’s denial of a STR application has been challenged in Crawford Circuit court regarding the process used by the Planning Commission in making that decision.
  2. The “NARCAN” box provided by Up North Prevention/ Northern Michigan Regional Entity is in place at the front entrance of the hall. In freezing weather, it will need to be moved to a heated location.  The box has had some packages removed (as is the intent), and will be restocked by the provider upon request.  This potentially life saving service is provided at no cost to Lovells.


Regular Business closed at 11:32


  • Dave Soderquist inquired if the maps associated with the rec plan could be included on the website. They are separate files and we will research the best way to present them on the website.  Dave also mentions that the flags at Crossroads Park were tattered.  Supervisor Neumann commented that two donors have already stepped up to replace the flags and that ordering of replacements would commence quickly.  It was added that a “Scotch guard” treatment may help longevity, but that replacement was an inevitable fact of having outdoor flags.  Dave also inquired regarding Lovells lack of “half-staffing” upon order of the Governor.  It was noted that half-staffing with a full span of flags that we have is a challenge and we have no staff that could be dedicated to that task.  Trustee Lovell will investigate a “mourning flag” which is a legitimate alternative when half-staffing is not feasible.  Dave also inquired if the meetings could be amplified as it was hard to hear in the back of the room.  It was discussed that reconfiguring the seating of the board and audience would be a first option to try rather than get involved in a mic/speaker system.
  • Bill Gergorsky presented views on the bidding process for Crossroads Park projects and the use of competitive bidding by the Township in general. It was noted that Crossroads Park development is fueled by both paid and volunteer efforts and that in all cases donated funds/labor should not be considered “Taxpayer Money”. It was also mentioned that a single STR was listed on the Township Website in our business section of the website which seemed to be wrong if STRs are not “businesses”.  [ Note: An ongoing review/ clean-up of the Lovells Township website is being conducted.  It was deemed in September as part of this review, that listing of any/all STRs as businesses was inconsistent with the State of Michigan’s view that STR’s are not commercial businesses.  Considering this, all STR listings on the Lovells Township website “Business” section were removed along with other content in September.]
  • Mike Mosser, owner of the denied STR mentioned previously, spoke regarding his sincerity to become a contributing member of the community and around his donation which the Township decided to return previously. He wishes to fuel economic opportunity in Lovells and feels that STRs can be a contributing factor to community growth.   He stated the goals of the case in Circuit Court being to assure the process is fair, clear, legal and well understood by all parties.  He fully supports approvals with conditions and a firm process for getting there.
  • There was discussion regarding The Natural Rivers Act, and its role in the STR debate by Jim Shiflett. While the NRA forbids “commercial” development along the river (and we put restrictions on this to only the Commercial Zone in our Zoning Ordinance), we are not bound to incorporate the NRA definition of a single-family dwelling as having  3 bedrooms or less.  The point of mass occupancy STRs not being in the spirit of NRA is noted but enforcement presents substantial challenges that Lovells has yet the resources to address.
  • Public Comment Closed at 12:05

Motion to Adjourn By Neumann, Support by Lovell, Motion Carried by Voice Vote

Meeting Adjourned at 12:06

Next Regular Meeting of Lovells Township Board will be held Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 10:00 AM at this location.



Respectfully Submitted,


Kenneth F. Ball

Lovells Township Clerk