County puts ORV ordinance into gear
Last week commissioners authorized board Chairman Jim Ruby to sign a letter of intent to consider the adoption of an ordinance. The letter will be sent to the county road commission and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, as required by state law. The letter states that the commission will hold a public hearing on the matter in not less than 45 days from Jan. 26, when the letter was approved.
A date for the hearing has not been set, but county Drain Commissioner Greg Alexander, a member of the Sanilac Tourism Council and the Parks Board, is hoping it's soon.
"I would hope it would be in 50 or 60 days, sometime before spring", said Alexander, who has urged commissioners to take advantage of the new law that makes counties in the Thumb area eligible for ORV ordinances.
The purpose of the hearing would be to collect public comments on an ordinance that could open some or all roads to ORVs. The same law also gives the road commission the authority to close up to 30 percent of the roads to ORVs, and gives the 39 local units in the county - townships, cities and villages, the final say on whether to allow the vehicles on their roads.
Alexander said the tourism council wants the county to move quickly because of the potential for economic gain for local businesses that have been hit hard by "all the job losses" in the county. It's an opportunity to "bring the economy back," he said, noting the positive impact that snowmobile trails have had on restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores and more.
Alexander said he'd like the county to open all the roads, and then let the local units decide if they want to close their roads.
The idea of increased ORV traffic has already generated some opposition.
At a recent Board of Commissioners meeting, the supervisor of Marlette Township and two township residents expressed concern about enforcement of ORV regulations pertaining to speed, noise and hours of operation, and liability for private property owners.
In other business on Jan. 26, commissioners:
*Authorized the sheriff department to purchase a dual axle enclosed trailer from Ben's Super Center of Brown City for $4,199. The trailer will be used to transport the new Safetyville program. The money for the purchase comes from a donation by the board of Mother Goose Nursery.
*Authorized the sheriff department to seek bids on the purchase of three 2010 Crown Victoria patrol cars and one 2010 Ford Explorer for the canine patrol unit.
*Permitted sheriff's personnel to buy sig-saurer pistols
the Michigan Police Equipment Co. of Charlotte. The Drug Task Force will provide up to $35,000 up front from the drug forfeiture fund to purchase the pistols, with full reimbursement to the fund by each officer through bi-weekly payroll deduction.
*Approved an increase in the medical examiner's cremation permit fee from $15 to $25.
*Approved a consultant contract with Shelly Warczinski, Sanilac MSU Extension, for administration and operation of the Sanilac County Recycling Center.
Warczinski will work 10 hours per week for an annual salary of $10,784.
She is taking over the responsibilities handled by the previous full-time administrator, Dale Wheeler.