Township increases pay for boards, OKs generator purchase

Pay raise for board members and commissioners is the first since 2021.
The Laketown Township Board of Trustees. Front from left: Treasurer Jim Johnson and Supervisor Linda Howell. Back from left: Trustee Patrick Dietrich, Clerk Amber Davis and Trustee Jim Delaney.

Laketown Township board members and commissioners will see an increase in pay starting in the new fiscal year.

The Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, unanimously approved a $15-per-meeting increase for board members and a $25-per-meeting increase for chairpersons.

The current pay is $85 per meeting for a board member and $100 per meeting for a chairperson. It was last increased in 2021.

The new pay is $100 per meeting for a board member and $125 per meeting for a chairperson.

“They haven’t had an increase in a while,” said Treasurer Jim Johnson.

Supervisor Linda Howell said board and commission members earn their pay by not only attending meetings and making decisions, but also researching agenda items and making site visits when appropriate.

The increases impact the parks and recreation commission, planning commission, zoning board of appeals and fire board.

The new fiscal year starts April 1. The budget is still being worked on. The budget hearing will be in March.

On Jan. 17, the parks commission asked the township board for a cost-of-living increase. Township Manager Al Meshkin said the township board would apply any increase equally to all boards and commissions.

On Jan. 10, the township board approved 3 percent raises for its own members. The township board is paid an annual salary while the other boards and commissions are paid by the meeting.

The generator at the Laketown Township Hall, 4338 Beeline Road, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.

Generator

Also on Wednesday, the township board unanimously authorized the purchase of a new generator from West Michigan Generator of Hudsonville for $38,665. The other bid was from Town & Country Group of Zeeland for $39,700.

The current generator, which is about 30 years old, does not function and replacement parts are difficult to get, according to Meshkin.

In October, a downed limb disrupted power to the township hall for more than 4 hours and the generator functioned for a brief period then shut down, leaving the hall without power.  The township hall remained staffed throughout the outage with work being accomplished by natural lighting, flashlights and battery-power laptops and smart phones.

The township’s equipment for email and other online services including office phones are housed in the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road, so some services were out not only in the hall but at the Graafschap Fire Department, 4534 60th St. and the Felt Estate, 6597 138th Ave. The outage did not impact any emergency services at the fire department.