Blue Lake Township is not done with the Browns Pond issue just yet.
At the township board meeting on Monday, Nov. 12, Norm Swier, president of the Browns Pond Association, approached the board during the public comment section of the agenda to discuss a bill the township would like to pay from the Brown’s Pond Association maintenance fund.
The bill, which totaled $1,714.80, was sent from Prein&Newhof, an engineering company comprised of engineers, surveyors, lab technicians and environmental experts. This bill is for the proposal that Prein&Newhof gave to the board and the association at a meeting on Nov. 8 that addressed the issues brought up by the inspection.
According to Swier, the association was not approached when Don Studaven, supervisor, hired the company. Swier then quoted from the Sept. 14, 2004 township board meeting minutes that the board will set up a special assessment district for the Browns Pond Association, and that the money in that fund will be used at the association’s discretion. He said that a resolution was passed on Nov. 5, 2004 to set up the special assessment district.
Fred Arbogast, township clerk, stated that he agreed that the supervisor should not have hired Prein&Newhof without a budget allocation in advance.
“The engagement of the engineer was done illegally,” Arbogast said. He suggested that the township should solicit bids from other engineering firms.
Studaven stated that he has hired an engineer multiple times in the past and there was never an issue.
On top of the issue of where the money should come to pay for the bill, Swier said he contacted a previous engineer, Luke Trumble, to ask him his advice on the bill. According to Swier, Trumble stated that the proposal should have been done for free or at little cost.
Swier recommended that the board send Prein&Newhof a check for $100, thank them for their services and inform them of the overcharge.
Melonie Arbogast, treasurer, said she agreed that the bill should not be paid until the issue is settled as to where the money will come from, and if the board has any authority over the Brown’s Pond special assessment fund.
A motion was made to postpone payment until the board is satisfied that the charge is legal. The motion passed 4-1, with Studaven voting no, stating he believed the charge was legal.